Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick now support Voice Search for YouTube

If the uncovered Silk browser for Fire TV is any indication, Amazon will enable voice input for Fire TV apps in the future. That might still be a long time away, so in the mean time, Amazon has made voice search possible for one of the most popular apps. With the new 5.2.4.1 software update, you can now use voice search to search YouTube on the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick.

Amazon has been slowly expanding the Fire TV’s universal search to cover more and more services over time, with the most recent notable additions being Netflix and HBO. Those, and all other services covered by the Fire TV’s universal search, consist of video catalogs that don’t change on a daily basis. YouTube’s video selection, which literally changes every second, can’t possibly be included in the Fire TV’s universal search implementation.

As a substitute for including YouTube content in the Fire TV’s voice search, Amazon has enabled the YouTube app to support the Fire TV’s “Search In Apps” functionality. When you perform a search on the Fire TV, whether it be a voice search or text input search, the results are broken down into various categories, like “Movies & TV” or “Apps & Games.” The final category on the list is “Search In Apps.”

Selecting an app in the “Search In Apps” section simply passes your query to the built-in search function inside that specific app. Prior to the 5.2.4.1 software update, only the Amazon Music app supported this functionality. Amazon has now added the YouTube app, which they’ve created themselves, as the second app to allow this search handoff ability.

To search YouTube using your voice, just perform a regular voice search using either an Alexa voice remote or the Fire TV Remote app. If there are matches to your search in a service included in the Fire TV’s universal search, those results will be listed first, with the YouTube app icon at the bottom. If there are no matches to your search in the universal catalog, you’ll need to press the menu button to make the “Search In Apps” option appear.

Once you select the YouTube app under the “Search In Apps” section, the YouTube app will load directly to its search screen with your query results shown. You can perform another voice search at anytime, but you’ll see the universal search results and will have to select the YouTube app at the bottom each time.

While having direct voice input of text fields within all apps is ideal, and hopefully coming to Fire TV devices in the future, this search handoff functionality is a nice substitute for the time being. Hopefully Amazon opens this ability up for developers to implement themselves so more apps can be included.

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7 comments
  1. Clamslam says:

    Finally!! I have been wanting this ever since I got my Firetv

  2. So do you think the FireTV will get Youtube’s new skinny bundle service now? Or will Amazon’s own entry preclude that?

  3. xnamkcor says:

    Will this work for the real YouTube app?

  4. Mark says:

    I wonder if this opens up the opportunity to do voice search within Kodi. I know that is asking a lot, but it’s something I have wanted for a while!

  5. Nene says:

    can be possible this same method can do for Kodi ? is very good!

  6. John C. says:

    I was playing around with this today on my Fire TV box 2nd gen box, and the results can be very quirky depending on just what exact kind of voice request you make.

    When I asked “What are Bob Seger’s albums,” instead of giving me any app or streaming content options, Alexa responded with an on-screen text display and a verbal readout of that Wikipedia listing of his albums. But nothing to click or choose, just an informational blurb.

    But when I said only “Beautiful Loser,” then Alexa produced the kind of results discussed in the article here, where at the bottom of the list were results for Amazon Music and YouTube via those apps.

    Some time ago, I asked Amazon via their Alexa support why Alexa couldn’t produce a list of albums or songs by any particular artist that are available to play in Amazon Music. Like, “show me all the Bob Seger albums available in Amazon Music.”

    And they promised that was in the works and coming soon, saying that already was a much requested feature before I ever broached it with them. But since then, soon has turned out to be many months and nothing thus far.

    So basically, AFAICT, you can voice ask for a specific title or thing, and then get clickable results for that. But if you ask for a list of available things like, “Show me all the albums or songs by XXXXX in Prime Music,” that they still can’t seem to produce.

  7. Supporting voice search and optimizing websites for voice search is something that everyone must be doing today!

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