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Google withdraws YouTube app from Amazon Fire TV

Google hasn’t been happy about Amazon’s anti-competitive nature when it comes to allowing rivals to sell their own hardware items – like smart speakers and media players – on Amazon.com.

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Google and getty images both will be benefited by this collaboration. Wikimedia Commons
Google and getty images both will be benefited by this collaboration. Wikimedia Commons
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  • A disagreement between both the companies fires up their rivalry.
  • Although Amazon is working fine with Apple TV, The disagreements with Google are not seeming to end.
  • This rivalry has made Roku, the biggest streaming service in the U.S.A.

The feud between Amazon and Google continues today with the early removal of YouTube from the Fire TV – a move Google had said wouldn’t take place until January 1, 2018. But as a number of Fire TV owners have now noticed, launching the YouTube app today informs you that you can choose to watch “YouTube and millions of other websites” by using a web browser. You then have the option to choose from Amazon’s own Silk browser or Firefox, with a click of a button.

Amazon's rivalry with Google intensified . Wikimedia
Amazon’s rivalry with Google intensified. Wikimedia

The disagreements between the companies that led to this consumer-unfriendly stance go back several years.

Google hasn’t been happy about Amazon’s anti-competitive nature when it comes to allowing rivals to sell their own hardware items – like smart speakers and media players – on Amazon.com. The retailer has long refused to stock devices that competed with its own – like Apple TV, Chromecast, Google Home, and others – in an effort to promote Amazon products like Echo speakers and Fire TV.

However, Amazon and Apple recently negotiated an agreement that brought the Apple TV back to Amazon and Amazon’s Prime Video app to Apple TV.

Meanwhile, it seemed discussions between Amazon and Google were improving earlier this month when the Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra reappeared on Amazon.com. (They’re still showing as “currently unavailable,” however.)

The other issue at hand was that Amazon had launched its own version of Google’s YouTube player for its Echo Show device, without working with Google to ensure core features were accessible. There’s been quite a bit of back and forth on this matter, with Google pulling that player, only to have Amazon surreptitiously work around the block by implementing a web version of YouTube instead.

That led Google this month to declare that it would pull YouTube entirely from Amazon’s hardware lineup, including Fire TV. The player was yanked immediately from Echo Show, but Fire TV owners were told that the app would work until January 1, 2018.

It would be unusual for Google to actually pull the YouTube app ahead of its deadline, which indicates this change – to point YouTube users to web browsers instead – may have come from Amazon’s side.

That theory is further backed up by the fact that sideloading the YouTube app onto Fire TV will continue to display the “warning” message, according to a report from AFTVNews.com and commenters on Reddit.

However, it’s unclear if Amazon’s choice to redirect YouTube users to web browsers ahead of schedule is fully rolled out. One report from Cord Cutter News said you’ll only see the browser choice screen if you have a browser installed on your Fire TV, for example. (Update: a recompilation of the app’s code, though, indicates the app has been changed to only point to the web browser – no matter if you have one installed or not.)

Amazon Fire TV Logo. Wikimedia Common
Amazon Fire TV Logo. Wikimedia Common

On two Fire TV devices we have here (a prior generation and new generation player), we’re only seeing the browser choice screen as of today. And many users worldwide are reporting the same, per Twitter.

We’ve reached out to Amazon and Google for comment. Google has not responded, but a rep from Amazon offered the following statement:

“I can confirm that YouTube and millions of other websites are accessible by using a web browser like Firefox or Silk on Fire TV.”

With all this drama, is it any wonder that Roku is the top streaming device in the U.S.?

Consumers don’t want to be jerked around like this all because two competitors can’t work out a reasonable solution that serves both their interests. At the end of the day, Amazon and Google only hurting themselves by alienating their overlapping customer base – a group that easily could (and probably should) switch to Roku at this point. IANS

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Google to Train 8,000 Indian Journalists on Fact-checking

Training workshops will be conducted in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi and Kannada in cities across India, Google India said in a statement

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Google to Train 8,000 Indian Journalists on Fact-checking
Google to Train 8,000 Indian Journalists on Fact-checking. Pixabay

To guard journalists from falling prey to false news stories, Google India on Tuesday said it will provide training to 8,000 journalists in English and six other Indian languages in the next one year.

For this, the Google News Initiative India Training Network will select 200 journalists from cities across India who will hone their skills in verification and training during five-day train-the-trainer boot camps that will be organised for English and six other Indian languages.

This network of certified trainers will then train more journalists at two-day, one-day and half-day workshops organised by the Network.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai. (Wikimedia Commons)

Training workshops will be conducted in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi and Kannada in cities across India, Google India said in a statement.

The focus of the training will be fact-checking, online verification and digital hygiene for journalists, using a curriculum built by experts from First Draft, Storyful, AltNews, BoomLive, Factchecker.in and DataLeads.

Also Read: Google Kills off The Ability to Order an Uber in its Maps App

“Supporting trusted, authoritative media sources is a top priority for Google, which is why we are proud to collaborate with Internews, DataLeads and BoomLive to support journalists in their fight against misinformation in India,” said Irene Jay Liu, Google News Lab Lead, Asia-Pacific.

“Our goal is to train more than 200 trainers, who will then train 8,000 journalists in six languages over the next year, making this Google’s largest training network in the world,” Liu added. (IANS)