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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 Introduces New Tool For Admins to Monitor More Smoothly

The "Work Insights" tool is available in the beta version and the "Investigation tool" is available for G Suite Enterprise customers

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Google arms admins to monitor workers in G-Suite apps. Pixabay

Google on Wednesday announced a new tool “Work Insights” that entitles admins with more visibility and monitoring control into the ways that G-Suite is deployed and utilised in their organisations.

“Work Insights” comes with “adoption charts” where admins would be able to analyse trends, track deployment progress over time, monitor apps that are most adopted by teams and identify which ones may need additional training on applications.

“With ‘Work Insights,’ admins can quickly surface organisational insights about G-Suite deployments at the team level — aggregated at 10 people or more — and understand adoption patterns for G-Suite apps,” Reena Nadkarni, Group Product Manager, G-Suite, Google wrote in a blog post.

The new tool is built specifically to help businesses measure and understand the impact of internal digital transformation and also for when organisations transition from legacy tools to G-Suite apps.

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Google on a smartphone device. Pixabay

“You can also use ‘Work Insights’ to learn how your teams are collaborating across your organisation — working together in meetings or co-creating documents. This insight can help executives identify opportunities to strengthen collaboration and reduce siloes,” Nadkarni added.

The search engine giant also announced the general availability of the “Investigation” tool in its “G-Suite Security Centre” to help organisations simplify their security management.

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The “Investigation” tool comes with simple user interface (UI), making it easier for admins to identify threats without having to worry about analysing logs that could be time-consuming and require complex scripting.

The “Work Insights” tool is available in the beta version and the “Investigation tool” is available for G Suite Enterprise customers. (IANS)