AMAZON HAS FOUND a way out of the not-at-all-immature fight its having with Google. YouTube is back on the Echo Show… in a manner of speaker.
As a quick recap of the playground-style escalation, Amazon kicked things off by blocking Google's Chromecast and Google Home devices from the site, pushing customers to its own products instead.
For a time, Google didn't really have a way to retaliate as Amazon is one of the few sites in existence that can live happily without Google referral traffic, but then a weakness presented itself. Amazon's Echo Show launched with full support for YouTube videos, but Google blocked it, with both sides blaming the other.
Amazon has found a workaround to this, without having to stock Google products or apologise. It's added a web browser to the second-generation Echo Show, and will be putting it on the first generation through a software update. That means you can now ask Alexa to visit YouTube, and the web version will load either through Silk or Firefox.
There's a catch, though. Once you're there, Alexa downs tools: voice controls won't work, and you'll have to start typing on the touchscreen like some kind of pauper. What is this, 2015?
Not the most user-friendly implementation, then, but better than nothing and useful in a pinch. If that doesn't sound good enough, Amazon recently revealed that Vimeo will be the new video partner of the Echo Show. It may not have the content that YouTube does, but at least it has no rival products to sell and will play nicely with voice controls.
It's the tech company equivalent of a break-up where the dumped party ostentatiously puts a photo of them with their new partner as a Facebook profile picture. But the fact that Amazon has felt the need to leave this YouTube workaround in the system suggests that the company may be thinking more about its difficult ex than it cares to let on… µ
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