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YouTube returns to Echo Show, just in time for Black Friday

It might be the best reason to buy one.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Amazon's Echo Show seemed like a powerful kitchen tool -- Amazon's hands-free Alexa assistant, plus a touchscreen for all your YouTube cooking videos. But in September, the YouTube integration abruptly disappeared from the device, without any warning at all -- because YouTube wasn't happy with how its content was being shown.

Now, YouTube has officially returned, an Amazon spokesperson confirms. (Just in time for the Echo Show's new Black Friday price of $180, I might add.)

As first reported by Voicebot.ai, the YouTube user interface on the Echo Show has changed a bit -- instead of discrete pieces of content against a black background, you'll see the same YouTube website interface you're probably familar with from desktop PCs.

Here's what it looks like: 

Amazon wouldn't directly answer a question about whether the new interface would address YouTube's concerns. "For YouTube content, we're simply allowing customers to access YouTube's website," the Amazon spokesperson said. 

"Our goal was to offer more video sources to our Echo Show customers. For us, the easiest way to do that was to create a web-based video experience on Echo Show, which includes access to YouTube's website directly." 

But despite the new interface, Amazon says a variety of voice commands should work, including these:

  • "Alexa, play cat videos from YouTube"
  • "Alexa, play Taylor Swift, 'Look What You Made Me Do' music video"
  • "Alexa, zoom in," which will make the video full-screen once
  • "Alexa, pause/stop/play"  

Note that "Alexa, go fullscreen" isn't included in that list, which is odd given that YouTube videos no longer play in fullscreen mode by default. Instead, you'll need to say "Alexa, zoom in," which feels a bit unintuitive. 

Amazon says that competing video sites DailyMotion and Vimeo are also now on the Echo Show, and that it plans to add more video services over time. Videos from both services seem to play on the Echo Show just like YouTube videos originally did, with integrated fullscreen video as opposed to a port of the web interface.

YouTube didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about the changes. Google, its parent company, is reportedly working on an Echo Show competitor.

Find more hands-on impressions (and video examples) in this tweetstorm from CNET editor Ry Crist.