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21st of January 2018

Technology



Firefox is now available on Amazon’s Fire TV, and it can access YouTube

Amid Amazon and Google’s bitter and self-defeating feud over the right to stream videos from YouTube, Mozilla today announced that its Firefox browser is now available on Fire TV devices. The Firefox team, which just released the fastest ever version of the browser back in November, doesn’t explicitly say in the blog post announcing the news that you can use Firefox to access YouTube.

But the company does write that, “Once installed, you can launch popular video websites, like YouTube, load any website address, and search the web for videos to play full screen on the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick.” When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Mozilla confirmed that you can in fact view YouTube content using the Firefox browser on Amazon’s Fire TV devices.

The Amazon-Google feud is mostly about Amazon’s decision to pull Chromecast devices, and eventually Nest products too, from its web store more than two years ago, and Google’s retaliation in the form of holding YouTube access hostage. The e-commerce giant reversed its decision on Google and Nest devices earlier this month in what appears to be an act of reconciliation, but only after Google announced it would be pulling YouTube from the Echo Show and Fire TV on January 1st.

The two companies are now in “productive talks” to resolve the situation. Yet that still means the world’s largest video site may cut off access to one of the most popular set-top box product lines in as little as two weeks’ time. YouTube is already inaccessible on the Echo Show because Google is blocking access to the service on Amazon’s built-in Silk browser, which Amazon was using as a workaround to having a custom YouTube app for the device.

Regardless of how Google decides to respond to Firefox access, if it does in fact pull YouTube on January 1st, it’s a good sign that the browser is experiencing a bit of a resurgence these days, and not just on desktop. It’s great to have alternative web solutions for all internet-connected devices, especially in a world increasingly dominated by the products of three of the world’s biggest corporations. And when those corporations feud, as we’re seeing with Amazon and Google, it’s consumers that suffer as content is blocked and products that should obviously be capable of accessing a certain app or service are left worse off than when you bought them.

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