Around a month ago YouTube videos stopped working on the Echo Show, with the message “Currently, Google is not supporting YouTube on the Echo Show.”
At the time Google claimed that Amazon’s implementation breaches YouTube’s terms of service, saying:
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.
Amazon, however, insisted the action was “without explanation and without notification” and for “no technical reason“.
Now a significant factor which may have contributed to the decision to block YouTube has come to light.
It has recently become fashionable to decompile firmware and apps to find clues regarding upcoming products, and AndroidPolice has discovered code for a new touch-screen Google Home speaker, presumably similar to the Amazon Echo Show, in the Google App.
References to multiple on-display features including notifications, interactive timers, weather forecasts, YouTube video playback, a basic web browser, photo galleries, Google Maps with business listings, a customizable home screen, and more were found in a teardown of the 7.14.15 beta version APK of the Google app.
TechCrunch had earlier reported that Google was working on a device code-named “Manhattan” that would be a competitor to the Echo Show.
The code reveals a device called “Quartz” which appears to have similar functionality to the Amazon Echo Show, including showing YouTube videos both browserless and with the usual YouTube chrome.
Google is, of course, playing catch-up with Amazon for the smart speaker market, and their YouTube move suggests they are not beyond playing dirty. Lucky for Amazon they have Bing as an alternative to Google Search, else no-one would be able to get an answer to the question:
“Alexa, which company was just fined 2.4 billion euros by the EU for anti-trust violations?”
Via the verge