As Amazon and Google keep bickering, consumers are the ones who lose

Amazon Echo Show Youtube App

Last summer, when we got an Amazon Echo Show in our house, our son quickly figured out how to ask Alexa to watch snippets of his favorite movies on it. Pretty soon, Moana songs filled our home. Constantly.

But last winter, YouTube went dark on our device, relegating my son to listening only. Ever since, he’s been asking when he can watch videos on our device again. My answer to him: Probably never again. At least not on YouTube.

How could I explain to him, a four year old, that companies Amazon and Google — the biggest adults in the tech space — are waging a fight, which is why he can’t have his Disney movies?

Each side continues to blame the other for the fighting, with each upping the game.

To get you up to speed: Last year, Google, which owns YouTube, pulled all of its videos off Amazon Echo devices with a screen, such as the Echo Show and Amazon’s Fire TV. Google claimed that showing YouTube on Amazon devices violated its terms of service. But the real reason Google/YouTube made the decision can be found in the statement a spokesperson gave on the issue in December:

“We’ve been trying to reach an agreement with Amazon to give consumers access to each other’s products and services. But Amazon doesn’t carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn’t make Prime Video available for Google Cast users, and last month stopped selling some of Nest’s latest products. Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and FireTV.”

In a nutshell, Amazon wasn’t selling Google’s products on its site, so Google pulled YouTube from Amazon products.

Now, apparently, both sides are digging in a bit deeper: Business Insider reported last week that Amazon called Google and told Google it  wouldn’t sell any new Nest (owned by Google) smart home products on the website. To which Google essentially replied, fine, we won’t provide any more of our old Nest products for you guys to sell. So there. (That’s not a direct quote, by the way).

If you search on Amazon’s online marketplace for a Google Chromecast (based on autofill results, many have), you’ll get a listing for an Amazon Fire TV Stick instead. For the time being, you can still find oodles of Nest products to buy, including their Nest Thermostats and cameras (which by the way, work with Alexa). But who knows how much longer they’ll be available.

What if Google/Nest decides that their products shouldn’t work with Alexa anymore?

Each side continues to blame the other for the fighting, with each upping the game, and to be honest, it’s worrying me. So I say to you both: Come on, guys, stop it already. It’s starting to piss me off.

We have Amazon Echo devices in our house, as well as a Nest Cam and a Google Home Mini. That means that both Alexa and Google Assistant live in harmony in our smart space. We use them for different reasons, have them connected to various smart home devices, and appreciate them all. They don’t fight at our house, they just get along. Can’t you guys get along, too?

My concern about the bickering is that it could eventually extend beyond just YouTube viewing or shopping. For example, what if Google/Nest decides that their products shouldn’t work with Alexa anymore? If you bought a Nest Cam or thermostat because you liked that you could communicate with those devices through Alexa, you could be shortchanged down the road.

Philips Hue light bulbs

And what if each company starts demanding loyalty from certain brands, meaning that smart home devices like Philips Hue lighting only come with Alexa or Google Assistant integration and not both? Or what if Google, with its massive search engine, decides to bury Amazon’s website somehow, now that net neutrality rules are no longer? All of those things could spell disaster for consumers.

The point is, how much farther could the two companies take this pettiness? I don’t want to know. And I don’t think anyone else does, either.

As each tech giant continues to hurl stones at each other, it’s clear they’re not just hurting themselves, they’re also hurting the consumers of their products. People have made it clear over and over that they want more streamlined compatibility, not less. Petty moves don’t serve anyone.

So, Amazon and Google: Knock it off already. You’re the tech parents in the room. Time to start acting like it.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.


Walmart is offering Google Home starter kits for under $50

If you're hoping to save big on Google Home devices before all the holiday deals come to an end, there's no better time than right now. Walmart is slashing prices on smart home starter kits for a limited time.
Home Theater

Step aside set-top boxes, the best streaming sticks are tiny and just as powerful

Which streaming stick reigns supreme? We pit the Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra against the Roku Premiere, Roku Streaming Stick+, and the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K to help you decide which one will be the best fit in your living room.
Smart Home

Google Store sale is on now through December 24!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 may be history, but fans of Google hardware including the popular Google Home Hub, Pixel 3 and 3XL mobile phones still have lots of deals in store -- the Google Store, that is.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.

Best deals on smart locks so you’ll never have to worry about unlocked doors

Is your front door locked? We found the best deals on smart home door locks that take the worry out of wondering if your home is secure. You can lock or unlock your doors remotely and some models let you control locks with voice commands.

These Amazon kitchen deals are perfect for Christmas gifts and healthy eating

Today is day 10 of Amazon’s “12 Days of Deals,” and it’s all about kitchen. From blenders to Instant Pots to KitchenAid mixers and more, practical yet highly coveted small appliances are available for up to 50 percent off.
Product Review

The Brava Oven takes all the thinking out of cooking

Using bulbs to cook food at different light frequencies, the Brava Oven lets even the clueless cook a tasty meal. But your own smart chef doesn’t come cheap.
Smart Home

Ring Alarm vs. Nest Secure: Which one is right for you?

Thanks to the advance of technology, it's become really easy nowadays to secure your home and protect it from thieves, intruders, and unwanted guests. Which one of these two top contenders is right for you?
Smart Home

The Apple HomePod gets a whole lot cheaper today at Target

Apple's HomePod hasn't been the most popular smart speaker on the market but for users who are all in on Apple's heavily policed ecosystem of devices, this smart speaker is on serious sale at Target this week.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Smart Home

Uber Eats is testing a system for cheaper meal delivery

You know how Uber Pool offers cheaper trips if riders share a car? Well, Uber Eats is currently testing the same idea for meal delivery, and it could mean cheaper orders for customers.
Smart Home

Dear Instant Pot Smart: I love you. Thank you for changing my life

After taking the Instant Pot Smart WiFi Programmable Pressure Cooker for a spin, one long-time product reviewer finds much to love about the device she long coveted, despite that it’s not really that smart.

Brew, drip, or press a fresh cup of joe with today’s best deals on coffee makers

To kick off the day with a fresh cup or upgrade your home coffee machine to accommodate the preferences of dinner guests, check these hot deals for drip coffee makers, espresso machines, and single-serving devices on Walmart and Amazon.
Smart Home

People are stealing Ring doorbells (and it’s no knock-knock joke)

Ring Video Doorbell thefts in a Denver neighborhood raise questions about how much security the smart home devices actually provide. One homeowner and the police have a video of the theft. Here's what to do if your Ring device is stolen.