Google and Amazon are not getting any closer to ending their terrible dispute. In fact, the user-hostile fight between them has only gotten worse. YouTube has briefly appeared to have blocked the Silk web browser on Fire TV from displaying the TV-optimized interface that is normally displayed on large screens. As a result, trying to navigate YouTube and watch videos has become a usability nightmare on Amazon’s popular streaming products.
It was confirmed that the TV interface wasn’t working around 5:00PM ET; at around 6PM, the TV interface had returned. Amazon declined to comment; Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Because the TV interface was inaccessible, YouTube on the Fire TV was basically a desktop computer experience. To control it, one had to browse around with the Fire TV remote (not exactly simple), play a video, then click to maximize it to fill the screen. Firefox Fire TV was blocked from showing the TV-optimized view, as well.
This momentary change trailed Google’s decision to remove YouTube from Fire TV altogether late last month, which happened to be the company’s most aggressive move yet in its continuing spat with Amazon. Google had criticized Amazon for refusing to sell its products or build Chromecast support into Prime Video on Android. Amazon started to address those complaints on the 14th of December by claiming it would restore sales of the Chromecast. It has been over a month, and Google’s streaming gadgets remain unavailable. (The Apple TV, which had also been kicked off Amazon.com for years, is shipping as promised.) Amazon has provided no indication that it intends to sell Google Home, which so happens to be a rival to its own Echo smart speaker.
A mild glimmer of hope that tensions might cool between the two came in December when Google said it was holding “productive” talks with Amazon about keeping YouTube around and not taking out this feud on their mutual customers.