Sunday January 20, 2019
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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
  • 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

Next Story

Google’s Censored China Search Engine Project Triggers Protests

Several Google employees, including former Senior Scientist Jack Poulson, resigned in September, citing lack of corporate transparency in the wake of the censored search engine project

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The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

Google’s offices in the US, UK, Canada, India, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Sweden, Switzerland, and Denmark witnessed renewed protests by human rights groups over its plan to re-enter China through a censored search application code-named “Project Dragonfly”.

The demonstrations were organised by coalition of Chinese, Tibetan, Uighur, and human rights groups outside the tech giant’s offices. The Tibetan advocacy groups that were protesting included Free Tibet and the International Tibet Network.

“They fear that a censored search engine would lead to further oppression of the Tibetans, as filtered searches would erase terms such as ‘Tibet’ and ‘Tiananmen Square’ in line with the official narrative of the Chinese Communist Party,” the Business Insider reported late on Friday.

The same concerns apply to the Chinese citizens, including other oppressed minorities such as Uighur Muslims and Southern Mongolian people, the report added.

Google, Main One, russia, smart compose
A Google logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

The Internet giant designed a censored version for China search engine to blacklist information about human rights, democracy, peaceful protest, and religion in accordance with strict rules on censorship in the country that are enforced by its Communist Party government.

The dispute began in August 2018 when reports surfaced that Google staffers working on “Project Dragonfly” had been using a Beijing-based website to help develop blacklists for the censored search engine, which was designed to block out broad categories of information related to democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest, according to The Intercept.

Also Read- In the Name of Kabaddi, Punjab Youth Stay Back in Canada

Several Google employees, including former Senior Scientist Jack Poulson, resigned in September, citing lack of corporate transparency in the wake of the censored search engine project.

In December, Google was forced to shut down a data analysis system that it was using to develop the search engine and the teams working on “Project Dragonfly” stopped gathering search queries from mainland China. (IANS)