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Web browsing comes to Amazon's Fire TV ahead of YouTube ban

The new browser seems like a backdoor to allow Fire TV devices to access YouTube after Google removes it from Amazon's device.

Fire TV owners now get to browse the web.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Amazon has announced that starting today all Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick users will be able to browse the web on their TVs using Firefox or Amazon's Silk browser.

As part of the press release Amazon mentions that customers can access the World Wide Web, "including popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Reddit, as well as local and international news sites, video sharing services, cloud photo sites, and other social news, sports, and entertainment content." 

However, one site the release doesn't mention is

Recently Google announced that it was cutting access to YouTube on Fire TV (and Amazon's Echo Show) on Jan. 1, 2018. Part of the reason behind Google's decision could be that Amazon may be developing its own YouTube competitor.

It's quite possible that Amazon has been working on adding web browsing to Fire TV for a while, but the new web-browsing feature also seems like a pretty nice workaround for Fire TV users to access YouTube content after the Jan. 1 date. Of course it's technically possible to block access to certain sites, including YouTube, so that workaround might not work. 

We've asked Google and Amazon directly about whether the Fire TV browser will allow access to videos on after Jan. 1, and we'll update this article if we get any additional insight.