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 126.96.36.199 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 188.8.131.52 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.