Google and Amazon have announced a truce in their ongoing war over streaming technology and features. Google will finally let Amazon have a real YouTube app on its Fire TV platform, and Amazon will expand Prime Video support to Chromecast and all Android TV devices. It’s all smiles and handshakes between the companies now, but consumers have been caught in the crossfire for the last year as Google and Amazon took shots at each other.
The dispute started in late 2015 when Amazon decided to stop selling Google’s Chromecast devices. That was right around the time Amazon ramped up its small form factor Fire TV Sticks, a direct competitor to the Chromecast. The next salvo was Google’s when it blocked Amazon’s Echo Show smart display from accessing YouTube content. According to Google, Amazon’s custom app violated its terms of service (and circumvented ads). A few months later, it also blocked Amazon’s Fire TV devices, which was a much bigger hit to Amazon.
Through all this, Amazon has shown animosity to Google’s Chromecast platform. While it grudgingly released an app for its Prime Video streaming service, it didn’t allow Chromecast streaming via the app. Clearly, Amazon wanted people to just purchase a cheap Fire TV to watch that content on the big screen.
The first sign that relations were thawing came when Amazon resumed selling the Chromecast. Although, that took a year from announcement to follow through in late 2018. The new agreement will return YouTube to the Fire TV lineup, filling a gap in Amazon’s streaming selection. There’s no specific date for the new app, but it will arrive “later this year.” The app will have all the usual YouTube features you’d find on other platforms, plus Alexa voice controls. After YouTube, Amazon will get Google’s YouTube TV streaming broadcast TV service.
Amazon will update its existing Prime Video app with support for Chromecast. This should be quicker than rolling out a new app on Fire TV, but there’s still no explicit timeline. The Prime Video Android TV app will also come to all Android TV devices rather than the select models it supported before.
This agreement doesn’t address several of the company’s long-standing issues. For example, the Echo Show still lacks YouTube, and Amazon isn’t going to start selling the Google Home speaker any time soon. Still, this is a step in the right direction.
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