I’ve gone to bat for Google when necessary. The company receives lots of unwarranted hate in addition to its very warranted criticisms, but I’m always willing to step up to the plate for them when I realize that things turn unnecessarily toxic. Yesterday, I published an article that discussed the update to the Youtube TV and Roku situation and the fact that the original Youtube app would also no longer be able to be installed on new Roku devices as of December 9, 2021.
In yesterday’s article, I leaned more toward Google’s side, since it claimed that Roku’s claims were “baseless” and it continued to swat down the accusations of demanding “special treatment” in search results from the streaming company. However, CNBC recently uncovered an email that was sent from a Google executive to Roku that reveals that the tech giant did, in fact, as for this. At this time, it would seem that Google is either lying or that the truth is more grey than black or white, and that makes it really hard to keep sticking up for innovation when equality and fair play are at stake.
In the email, Google states “YouTube Position: A dedicated shelf for YT search results is a must.” When asked about this very direct and very concerning statement, a Youtube spokesperson by the name of Mariana De Felice refused to acknowledge it, and instead, claimed the opposite of what was written directly in the email body:
Partners like Roku are allowed to rank search results for YouTube as they wish.
Mariana De Felice, Youtube spokesperson
“To be clear, we have never, as they have alleged, made any requests to access user data or interfere with search results. This claim is baseless and false.”
“YouTube Position: A dedicated shelf for YT search results is a must.”
Roku published its own blog post yesterday, and in it, the company continued to claim that Google is pushing its weight around in unfair ways to gain an unfair advantage. With all of this evidence stacking up in Roku’s favor, I shouldn’t be surprised that Google is taking the stance it allegedly is, but I suppose I expected better from a company that used to have “Don’t be evil” written on the wall at its headquarters.
Unless there is some disconnect in these statements that causes there to be more to the story than what we’re seeing, my concern is that Google’s desire to place 100 percent of its attention and effort on the in-home TV experience – something it’s claimed is absolutely core to its vision this year with Google TV – has caused them to push too hard on its competitors, and in doing so, has pushed its ethics to the side.
My hope is that there’s more going on here than meets the eye, and I’m willing to keep playing tug of war with this, but one thing is clear – the consumer loses yet again, and that’s just a freaking shame. What kind of future do we have with technology if we continue to get experiences that are driven by corporate greed and petty dispute? Am I missing something here? Let’s discuss in the comments!
Google continues to interfere with Roku’s independent search results, requiring that we preference YouTube over other content providers. This is a concern shared by many companies who believe that customers deserve neutral and relevant results to their search queries.