July 10, 2019
Google and Amazon, which reached a truce in April after months of wrangling, opened the door to multiple cross-platform compatibilities: Amazon Fire TV streaming platforms will now carry Google’s YouTube, YouTube TV and YouTube Kids apps — and Google Chromecast platforms and Android TVs will carry Amazon Prime Video. In addition, users will be able to request YouTube content on the Fire TV via the Alexa voice assistant. Not available yet is the ability of Google Assistant to work with Amazon Prime Video on Chromecast.
CNET reports that the companies also “did not announce a YouTube app for the Amazon Echo Show, which also currently requires a browser workaround.” Fire TV users, which have accessed YouTube via a browser, have not had YouTube TV available to them. Chromecast users also “previously lacked access to Amazon’s Prime Video apps from phones and tablets … [although] many devices on the Android TV platform, including the Nvidia Shield and Sony TVs, have Prime Video apps already.”
According to Google, “the app will be available on every device that runs Android TV soon.” Vizio TVs with built-in Chromecast already have Prime Video access.
The Google-Amazon spat began in 2018 when Amazon stopped selling Google’s Chromecast devices, and Google retaliated by pulling YouTube from Fire TV devices. Now, “the latest upgrades help Fire TV and Chromecast better compete against the likes of Roku, Apple TV and most smart TV systems, which have long had both YouTube and Prime Video apps.”
The Verge reports on Netflix Hangouts, a new Chrome extension that lets the user catch up with TV shows at work under the guise of being engaged in a conference call. Clicking the extension brings up a “fake four-person conference call,” in which one of the parties is the cast of the show.
MSCHF Internet Studios, which developed the extension, previously created the Slack channel that gave $1,000 in prize money for the first person to correctly guess each word of the day (Slack shut this down in a week), “a man who ate various foods as disgusting ice cream toppings … and Tamagotchi, the lovable virtual avatar that slowly died as you opened more and more tabs.”
Other services that have allowed users to goof off at work include those “that make Twitter look like Slack conversations, websites that make Reddit look like Outlook, and … a website that made your Facebook News Feed look like an Excel spreadsheet.”