The Amazon Echo Show just lost one of the few reasons to buy it

Google and Amazon have apparently found themselves in a little bit of a spat, as reported by The Verge, with the former pulling its fledgling video service (YouTube) off the latter's latest connected device (Echo Show).

Or to put it another way: The Echo Show (opens in new tab) just lost one of the only good things going for it.

Let's rewind for a second and recall this line from my Echo Show Review:

It is an imperfect device that simultaneously excites and occasionally infuriates. It's yet another example of Amazon beating everyone else to market, but with a product that in a number of ways still feels incomplete.

So in the Echo Show we have a device with tons of potential. The ability to serve as an always-on home hub. Only it doesn't actually do that yet. And the ability to serve as an always-available, cross-platform communications device with far-field microphones and video. Only nobody's really using that yet.

And there's the potential to show any virtually any video at any time — because when it comes to on-demand viewing, YouTube is the only service that really matters — thanks to the 7-inch display. Only now, not so much.

Losing access to YouTube video is a still-smoking wound to a product that was struggling for purpose in the first place.

The reasons behind Google not allowing YouTube on the Echo Show don't really matter to me. (Though I do find it interesting that there apparently was enough warning for Amazon to update the Echo Show response to "Currently, Google is not supporting YouTube on Echo Show.") Perhaps it's something technical. Perhaps it's in retaliation for Amazon not selling Chromecast (which very much competes with Amazon's own Fire TV Stick).

But the result is a still-smoking chest wound in an Echo Show that remains, at best, promising. And that absolutely matters. Maybe not to Google — at least not yet. And not really to you or me, unless you're one of the few who actually owns an Echo Show and relied on it for your YouTube fix.

But if you're Amazon, you just lost one of the key ways to market the Echo Show to new customers. If you're one of those potential customers, you just lost a key reason to buy an Echo Show.

And if you're a proponent of the Internet, you know, actually working, you just got another reason to question Google's real intentions.

Phil Nickinson
  • Don't be evil.... or?
  • Exactly, Google should be ashamed.
  • Screw that. I want google to pull all their apps and services from all Amazon devices. Do you not see how this lines up with Amazon selling the Apple TV again now that they support Amazon video? Yet Amazon wants me to sideload an app on my android phone in order to use their video app and wont support chromecast and has their dumb appstore in it which is the only reason FireTV is still alive. No one makes apps for Fire Tablets, they repackage for Fire Tablets. There is a big difference. F them. They are using people that love android and amazon as pawns rather than making all their customers happy. Their beef with apple was over some dumb rule that cuts revenue. Their beef with Android is that they used it as the foundation for their software for free and now think they are entitled. Maybe if Amazon made software libraries that people wanted to develop for this wouldn't be a problem.
  • Just like Amazon not stocking Google products !
  • Sorry but no, this article does not give the complete picture, which is weird. Google is in the right here. "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." Why this article does not give the complete picture is beyond me, the WHY of the situation might not matter to the general population but it absolutely matters when discussing it in this context.
  • Are you saying Google is in the right simply based on the press statement they issued?
  • I wonder how it violates TOS. Does Echo Show display youtube preroll ads?
  • It'd be helpful if Google narrowed what the violation was. There's a lot of legalese there, and Google must've come up with *something* specific.
  • How about you can't buy a Chromecast on Amazon. You can't use Chromecast from an Amazon tablet legitimately. Amazon is no innocent party here. They have effectively blocked most of Google's streaming abilities here. I would watch Amazon content more, but this is a big turn off for me on Amazon's part. I think Google is using it as a bargaining chip. Considering this feature is the top five for the Show. Go to Amazon, they sell the Fire and Roku streaming sticks along with others, yet they won't sell a Chromecast. Effectively blocking part of the internet you are speaking of.
  • Honestly I don't blame Google one bit. Amazon purposely blocks the sale of Chromecast, and you can't use Amazon Prime Video with Chromecast. So why should Google just willingly allow Youtube to work on their Echo Show? Speaking of blocking the sales of Chromecast. Not only can you buy a Roku from Amazon, but they have just recently allowed the sale of Apple TV on Amazon again after being blocked since 2015. Wonder if that has anything to do with Googles change of heart.
  • Exactly, google has every right here and it's about time that Google has stood up for themselves. I've already stopped buying Amazon hardware because I can't get all Google services on them. And at some point I think Amazon is going to find themselves in a court room if they continue exclude some products for sale on their website because it competes with their own products.
  • It makes me wonder if Google has something else up their sleeve, not that I would blame them for doing it only for the reasons already mentioned. They've never really been opposed to their stuff running on competitor hardware, but the fact that we are a few days away from their 'big announcement' for the year makes this timing suspect.
  • Was thinking this as well. But considering many tablets have the Google Assistant already, I don't think they would block it for competition. What I mean is if they were to release a Google Home Show, I would be disappointed in this move. I think it's about Chromecast.
  • Yeah that isn't how Google works. Google makes money when as many people are using their services as possible, regardless of the device.
  • Amazon's take: 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. Google's take: 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. Per the Verge
  • Yeah, I find it incredibly disappointing that this was not included in the original article.
  • "Perhaps it's in retaliation for Amazon not selling Chromecast (which very much competes with Amazon's own Fire TV Stick)." I'm sorry...I honestly don't really consider the Chromecast as competition for the Fire TV Stick or the Roku or any other standalone streaming device. I own a Chromecast...but it has sat in a drawer for years now because I got tired of having to go THROUGH a completely separate device to stream video. I now own a TV that supports casting without the Chromecast device and I STILL don't use that feature because it's less convenient than just directly using my Roku and/or Xbox.
  • Exactly. My chromecast gathers dust somewhere whilst my firetv is used every day.
  • I switched to Android from Windows Phone, but this crap is one of the main reasons I avoided android for so long.
  • Because Amazon isn't abiding by Google ToS? How is that Android's fault?
  • Hmmmm, they are one in the same. Google acts like#%%$ all the time.
  • Did Amazon's implementation of YouTube block ads? If it did, it IS in violations of the terms of agreement with YouTube. It's easy for Amazon to cry foul when they were most likely told what the requirements were and thought it didn't apply to them because they are so huge. Given how you can get YouTube on most things available to consumers, on this one I'm going to side with Google. They give the damn thing away. BTW- Obligatory Amazon you suck for not allowing Chromecast casting.
  • That's exactly what happened here. I don't blame Google one bit. Amazon bastardized YouTube's website and got caught stealing from YouTubers. 100% Amazon's fault their Echo Show is now a doorstop.
  • Where’s the EU when you need them?
  • Yeah..Amazon has been awful with Google products and Android users...even Prime users ....we pay for Amazon services and can't use them on our phones or for Google.
  • What Amazon service are you paying for that you can't use on your phone?
  • I have that same question. I haven't come across a service I cannot use yet.
  • I think he means that they don't make it easy. You cannot download Amazon Prime Video from Google Play. You have to sideload their Amazon Underground App directly from their site, which gives you access to their app store and subsequently the Amazon Prime Video app. To install their app you need to allow the phone to install apps from unknown sources which presents a security hazard for users not familiar with all the safe places to install software from on the net. Plus you cannot cast video from Amazon Prime Video to a Chromecast sure you can mirror the device screen but that is less than ideal because all your notifications appear on your TV and your phone battery drains because it is running the video and not the Chromecast. And guess what? Amazon has their Amazon Shopping app and Kindle app in the Play Store because they make ALOT of money from them. Google does not block the Kindle app, or any competitor's app, despite the fact that it competes with Google Play Books. I like Amazon overall but the fact that they cripple Chromecast use kind of takes aways a bit of the luster.
  • I can't cast Amazon Prime. Amazon has arbitrarily kept Chromecast out of their store, although they sell all of the competing products. Amazon bastardized YouTube's web site in clear violation of Google's TOS. Three strikes and you're out, Amazon.
  • This is monopoly power, in action. Google used it to stop Windows Phone from happening and they're using it again, to crush a competitor. Google simply owns the web video market with YouTube and any device or operating system that can't access it, is doomed.
  • Please, this is a bad take. Amazon isn't playing by Google's rules, simple as that. You can't break YouTube on your device and expect Google to be OK with it.
  • Er, NO! Amazon started this by arbitrarily excluding Chromecast from it's store. And bastardizing the YouTube web site. Amazon got what it deserved.
    And I'm sure that if Amazon corrects the YouTube experience, Google will let it work again even if Amazon continues to block Chromecast sales.
    Bezos has a history of being evil with Google.
  • This could be the start of something bad for consumers
  • Amazon has been making this bad for customers for a long time.
  • Were they blocking ads like Microsoft was doing on Windows Phone a few years ago? That would be the easiest way to piss off Google and if so I'd say Google is more in the right
  • Yes, they are blocking the ads. Exactly why Google is in the right.
  • Does Roku display ads?
  • But...the reasons matter. Why not include Google's response in the article? Given the information we have Google is in the right here and that absolutely matters.
  • 1. Amazon's implementation of Android on the Fire is seriously awful. The latest update makes it even harder to use.
    2. Amazon blocks Google apps on the Fire but there is no Amazon ecosystem to replace them. Keep, Maps, Hangouts, Chrome, all unavailable on the Fire, seriously impact my ability to coordinate between phone, computer, and tablet.. Apple, which has an incredibly closed system, is far more open to Google apps.
    3. Google is in the right on this issue.
  • Are you alleging that Google has attempted to compile their apps with the Amazon libraries and tried to publish them in the Amazon appstore? I'm rather skeptical.
  • Google has to pay Apple a ton of money to be the default search engine, makes sense to me that Google probably wants some bucks to be on the competitors product. Amazon probably does not way to pay up...
  • Wow, when Verge has a more complete story than Android Central, you know you're doing something wrong.