Earlier this year, Amazon launched the Echo Show, which is exactly what it sounds like: a version of its Echo smart speaker that includes a seven-inch color screen so it can show users photos, videos, and messages. One of the device’s selling points is that users can watch YouTube videos on it… or they could before Google removed their access.
Echo Show users are in the crossfire of a feud between two of the internet giants that control our lives, Amazon and Google.
“Google has chosen to no longer make YouTube available on Echo Show, without explanation and without notification to customers,” Amazon announced late yesterday, according to The Verge, calling the decision a “disappointing” one for which there is no technical explanation.
“A broken user experience”
Google, which owns YouTube, countered that there is a technical reason for the decision. Kind of. Its problem with the Echo Show is that yes, it displays YouTube videos, but not the way that Google wants them displayed.
“Amazon’s implementation of YouTube on the Echo Show violates our terms of service, creating a broken user experience,” Google said in its own statement. “We hope to be able to reach an agreement and resolve these issues soon.”
Specifically, the Echo Show leaves out features that are meant to keep users coming back to YouTube and using it for longer, such as recommendations of more videos to watch, and solicitations to subscribe to a video creator’s channel for future content.
Amazon’s voice-activated devices are the current best sellers in the category, and such a feud is likely to only hurt both companies.
“Things get harder for end users because these companies can’t get along,” technology analyst Jan Dawson told Reuters.