Amazon and Google have found themselves in a war of words after the Echo Show device suddenly lost the ability to stream YouTube videos yesterday. As is so often the case with these sort of spats, both companies have offered different sides to the story.
In a statement yesterday, Amazon claimed the move came as a total surprise and without any notification or explanation from Google.
Google made a change today around 3 pm. YouTube used to be available to our shared customers on Echo Show. As of this afternoon, Google has chosen to no longer make YouTube available on Echo Show, without explanation and without notification to customers. There is no technical reason for that decision, which is disappointing and hurts both of our customers.
Google, however, has a very different version of events. It says the Echo Show violates YouTube’s terms of service. Its statement to The Verge reads:
We’ve been in negotiations with Amazon for a long time, working towards an agreement that provides great experiences for customers on both platforms. Amazon’s implementation of YouTube on the Echo Show violates our terms of service, creating a broken user experience. We hope to be able to reach an agreement and resolve these issues soon.
The exact details of why Google pulled YouTube are unclear. It’s likely an issue with the Echo Show’s inability to use features such as subscribing to channels, autoplay, and next video recommendations, though it could also be related to the way it displays ads or tracks users.
Back in 2013, Google got into a similar argument with Microsoft, resulting in the Windows Phone YouTube app being blocked. With the streaming service being such a popular element of the Echo Show, Amazon may concede to Google’s demands if it ensures YouTube's speedy return.