Google effectively breaks YouTube on Amazon Fire TV browsers by forcing redirect to desktop version of site [UPDATE: Access restored]

Google has essentially broken the ability to browse YouTube on all Amazon Fire TV devices. If you try to browse the television optimized version of YouTube at youtube.com/tv using either the Silk Browser or Firefox app on a Fire TV device, Google has put in place a redirect that forces the browser to load the desktop version of YouTube. By blocking access to the version of YouTube made for television browsers, Google has deliberately made browsing their website an unusable experience on Amazon Fire TVs, Fire TV Sticks, and Fire TV Edition televisions.

Last year, Google began displaying a message in the main YouTube app on Fire TV devices that informed customers that access through the app would be blocked on January 1st, 2018. This was due to various disagreements they had with Amazon. Despite “productive discussions” between the two companies, an agreement could not be reached between the two companies before the deadline.

Amazon’s solution for Fire TV customers to retain access to YouTube on their devices was to release the Silk Browser for Fire TV devices so that customers can browse to the television optimized version of YouTube, instead of using the soon to be blocked YouTube app. Firefox followed shortly after by releasing their popular browser for Fire TV devices, giving customers a second way to access YouTube’s website on their streaming devices.

Amazon later updated the main YouTube app for Fire TV devices to simply display two buttons that gave customers the option to browser YouTube through either the Silk Browser or Firefox. Amazon, who makes the main YouTube app for Fire TV devices, made the change a few days before Google’s January 1st deadline. Once 2018 arrived, Google never actually blocked YouTube through the main YouTube app for Fire TV devices. Customers who did not update their Fire TV YouTube app were able to continue using the app to access YouTube, even though the app continued to warn customers of the now past block deadline.

Earlier today, Google made a change on YouTube that deliberately sent customers viewing their website through a Fire TV device to the desktop version of YouTube’s website. Even if customers manually enter youtube.com/tv in either Silk or Firefox on a Fire TV device, Google redirects the customer to the regular youtube.com website with no way to get back to the TV optimized interface that they were once able to use. Customers who did not update the main YouTube app for Fire TV devices are also now being redirected to the desktop version of YouTube.

Unlike youtube.com/tv, which is made to be used with a remote control while browsing from several feet away, the youtube.com desktop website is extremely difficult to use through a Fire TV device. While Google technically hasn’t blocked access to YouTube through a Fire TV web browser, they’ve deliberately made the experience so bad that it effectively makes the streaming service unusable through Amazon’s television hardware.

Update

About an hour or two after Google began redirecting Fire TV users to the desktop version of YouTube, they are now once again allowing access to the television optimized version of YouTube through all previous methods.

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27 comments
  1. clocks says:

    Google “Smart Youtube TV”. Hopefully that still works.

  2. Darren says:

    Let’s see whose **** is bigger in this match.

    I want my YouTube back!

  3. Martin Phillp says:

    So glad I have a Chromecast as well, so the Amazon v Google fight doesn’t affect me.

  4. Paul_Aris says:

    Why does Amazon block certain goggle devices to be sold. They are to blame here. We need google.

  5. Pawdog says:

    Never depend on any one platform.

  6. Thr0tt says:

    Great, what a bunch of ….. so annoying and childish, I updated today and noticed this thought it was me then remembered the feud!

    I have ftv and cc but cc you need another device to control which is why I moved away from the inconvenience of it.

  7. Joseph says:

    Can we say…….Google looks like petty di*ks

  8. LONNIE jerome BELL says:

    when did this go into effect because I am using the youtube app from the amazon app store via silk browser right now and I am able to access it just fine but i do have minor system tweaks that may be allowing this?

  9. Pawdog says:

    I’m seeing no change on silk or FireFox as of yet.

  10. bacus says:

    Good news – I managed to still get it to work.

    Open Firefox on the FireTV.

    DONT click the youtube button.

    Go above to the search and address bar, and start typing ‘youtube.com/tv’ (for me, I just typed ‘y’ and it filled it in).

    Press the play/pause button on the remote and you’re in !!!

    Hope this works for everyone else.

  11. Steve says:

    Its working fine for me. Nothing wonky.

    What should i do to avoid breaking youtube?

  12. Erin says:

    Still working for me so far on Firefox.

  13. Ryan says:

    Does google really think this is good for customers? Do they think people are going to change their device just to access Youtube? This is just dumb and petty to do to the general public. This makes me really anti-google.

  14. Y314K says:

    LOL, Amazon & Google both champions of Net Neutrality can’t help themselves from getting into a fight that is only hurting both of their consumers. What a load of Evil Shit both companies are made off.

  15. AR says:

    Don’t worry YouTube is a dying platform anyways
    their users and their creators are just about fed up with Google’s BS

    the censorship , the demonetization , the forcing of ever $hittier UI’s on us , the constant deliberate breaking of things like the notification system , all their other dirty tricks that are constantly screwing people
    on their view count,s likes, etc
    the near constant shilling for red
    i could seriously go on all day here
    Google is a cancer ,it needs to be MA Bell’d
    this cancer monopoly needs to be smashed into a million pieces

    • clocks says:

      I’m not normally a big regulation guy, but Google and some of the other tech companies do seem to have too much power. They censor what vids we can watch, what shows up in our search results, skim our emails for info, etc…

    • Tony Ramirez says:

      MA bell I love that term. Yes Google is too big and should be split up but so should Amazon, Verizon and again AT&T.

      • Dave says:

        What about Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Disney…..??? How do you define when a company is “too big and should be split up” and who gets to make that decision? And, how do you know that the end result won’t be more detrimental than what you have now? Remember, better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.

    • Norman Penn says:

      Easy, do not watch or use google products. We have the power, need to exercise it buy not using their products. I got tired of cable, no longer have it, much happier, as an example.

  16. Len Mullen says:

    The one thing we know is that these tech companies do not like their customers. There should be no surprise when these unloved customers forego their eco-prisons for green pastures of hacked devices. Won’t be long before Kodi is running on all of these devices.

  17. Lenin D says:

    I for one support google on this one, Amazon doesnt want to sell their products why would google take that sitting down?
    I bet if enough people complain to amazon they will come to a quicker agreement ,

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