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YouTube on Fire TV? Things just got trickier

At the moment, Fire TV users looking to watch something on YouTube will have to detour to a web browser.

YouTube on Amazon Fire TV 2017
YouTube has been at home on Amazon's Fire TV. At the moment, not so much.
Sarah Tew/CNET

It's another shot fired in a showdown between Amazon and Google.

On Thursday, four days ahead of a deadline imposed by Google, its YouTube app has apparently been deactivated on Amazon's Fire TV devices. People who want to use Fire TV to look at YouTube are being directed instead to a pair of browsers, including Amazon's own Silk.

It's not clear which company pulled the trigger.

"All I can confirm," an Amazon spokesman said in an email, "is that YouTube and millions of other websites are accessible by using a web browser like Firefox or Silk on Fire TV."

Google didn't respond to a request for comment.

Competition between the two tech giants has been amping up. Google, for instance, is making a push into the market for smart speakers that Amazon has dominated with its Echo devices. Amazon has been pushing deeper into Google's turf of online advertising. Both have diverse ambitions extending well beyond the technologies on which they rose to fame and fortune, with Google the world's foremost search engine and Amazon the world's largest online retailer.

Earlier this month, Google's YouTube division said it would cut off access to the Fire TV streaming device as of Jan. 1. That would be retaliation for Amazon's failure to carry Google products such as the Chromecast streaming device and the Google Home speaker.

At that time, it also cut off access, for a second time, to YouTube from Amazon's Echo Show device.

'Alexa, be more human': Inside Amazon's effort to make its voice assistant smarter, chattier and more like you.

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