YouTube is Back on Amazon Echo Show
- Amazon added a browser to Echo Show 2nd Gen and has updated Echo Show 1st Gen devices to offer browser capability as well.
- Users can choose from Firefox and Silk as browser options.
- YouTube is now accessible again on Echo show by way of the browser despite the dispute with Google.
Amazon and Google last year engaged in a very public dispute about how consumers could access services and products from the companies. Google complained that Amazon.com would not carry the Chromecast device for sale because it competed directly with Amazon’s Fire TV Stick. In retaliation, Google cut off access to YouTube through Amazon’s smart display, the Echo Show. Amazon figured out a workaround to bring YouTube access back which Voicebot was the first to notice in the fall of 2017. However, Google then shut off access through that method once again.
Why YouTube Matters
Google Assistant enabled smart displays from Google, JBL and Lenovo now highlight YouTube access as a feature differentiation over Echo Show, but Amazon identified a new way to bring YouTube back. At Amazon’s September hardware event there were 70 announcements. Most of the focus was around the new devices such as the voice-enabled microwave, subwoofer, in-car solution and Echo Show 2nd generation. One of the lesser covered announcements was the introduction of a browser for Echo Show. The browser addition means YouTube and other web content are now easily accessible through Echo Show along with 40,000 Alexa skills.
This is important because it significantly expands the amount of content available to users. Alexa skill developers have been slow to roll out robust skills that take advantage of the screen reducing the rationale for the smart display. YouTube doesn’t singlehandedly change that equation, but it does provide the largest library of video content available and offers additional use cases for any smart display.
How it Works
If you ask Echo Show to play YouTube a splash screen is displayed asking you to select Firebox or Silk as your preferred browser. After you do that, the mobile version of YouTube autoloads. However, once on the screen, you cannot navigate YouTube by voice. It’s a browser and not a voice interface. So, you are back to touch to select videos.
Vimeo is Default Video Provider
Despite the re-integration of YouTube access, Amazon also announced in September that a new agreement with Vimeo. It is the new default video service for Echo Show. While Vimeo doesn’t have the full catalog of YouTube, it does allow for voice navigation of videos which a selection carousel similar to how Echo Show previously handled YouTube navigation.