YouTube is returning to Amazon's Fire TV product line, and the Amazon Prime Video application will add support for Chromecast and will be more widely available on Android TV. These two developments, jointly announced by both companies this morning, mark the end of a long confrontation between Google and Amazon, a dispute that has kept a native YouTube application off the Fire TV platform for more than a year. The customers were really the ones who were at a disadvantage as soon as these two technology giants got into this dispute, so to see it's over is very good news.
Google will bring YouTube back to Amazon Fire TV devices "later this year." The main YouTube application will arrive for the first time in the next few months (there is still no firm release date) and will be followed by YouTube TV, the company's subscription television service and YouTube Kids, aimed at children, before end of 2019. Fire TV will be fully certified for YouTube, which indicates that it offers quality video quality and a minimum buffer. YouTube for Fire TV will also support Alexa voice commands to search and play content.
In return, Amazon will add the Chromecast integration to its own Prime Video mobile app, which will allow users to more easily watch their movies and shows on the TV screen. if they have one of the affordable Chromecast streaming dongles from Google. Prime Video will also be universally available on Android TV; Until now, it has been limited to selecting devices that run that operating system.
During his absence, Fire TV users could still access YouTube through web browsers, so it was not completely available. However, a proper application will undoubtedly make life easier for those customers.
It should be noted that this agreement does not include Amazon's smart screen, the Echo Show, so YouTube will not reach that device in the short term. But a person familiar with the matter said that both companies continue to engage in a continuous conversation.
Google and Amazon did not comment on the details of their new agreement, nor would they specify how often they tried to resolve things in the course of this stubborn enmity. When YouTube was initially removed from Fire TV, there were a lot of fingers pointing between the two companies.
Amazon claimed that Google was hurting consumers and that it "selectively blocked customer access to an open website," while Google expressed frustration at the fact that Amazon has removed its Chromecast / Google feature Cast and have left out of the Prime Video application for Android for years. Google also disagreed with the online retailer's refusal to sell many of its products, such as Google Home, Chromecast and Nest devices. Amazon resumed the sale of Chromecast in December last year, but that alone was not enough for YouTube to give up. Finally, getting on board with the casting and wide expansion of Prime Video on Android TV seems to have done the trick.
The new agreement refers strictly to the transmission and does not include any retail component, so Amazon has not given in when selling Google Home (a direct competitor for its Echo speakers) or the latest Nest devices.
This has been a week of technology companies solving their differences. Apple and Qualcomm resolved their contentious legal battle on Tuesday just as it went to trial, and now we have Amazon and YouTube finally reaching common ground.