There has been a surprising amount of cooperation between some of technology's biggest players when it comes to supporting competing devices. For example, you can load an Android handset with Microsoft software, which is exactly what Bill Gates has done. You can also download Cortana, Microsoft's digital assistant, to your iPhone if you feel so inclined. But it is not all peaches and cream across the board. This is evident the moment you try to fire up YouTube on an Echo Show smart speaker.
Apparently Google is blocking YouTube from working on Amazon's smart speaker. Should you try to bring up a YouTube video, Alexa will politely tell you in no uncertain terms, "Currently, Google is now supporting YouTube on Echo Show." According to Amazon, this is all Google's doing, as opposed to some kind of technical hiccup that might be fixed with a software update.
"Google made a change today at 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," Amazon told The Verge.
When pressed on its reasoning, Google insinuated that this boils down to quality control, and that the fault ultimately lies with Amazon.
"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," Google said in a statement.
Google did not specify what exactly was broken about the user experience. It is likely that Google wants certain features to be included, such as subscriptions, autoplay, and so forth. It is far less likely that Google's intent is to cut Amazon and its Echo Show out of the equation entirely in favor of its own Google Home smart speaker.
This is not the first time Google has been particular about how its YouTube service gets implemented on a third-party device. Back in 2013, Google told Microsoft to remove its custom YouTube app for its Windows Phone platform because it blocked advertising and allowed users to download videos.