If you were hoping that the grown-ups had stepped in to negotiate a truce in the spat between Google and Roku regarding the YouTube TV app, it seems that you may have to wait a while longer because the search has just fired its latest salvo across Roku’s bow. With the YouTube TV app having been withdrawn on Roku devices, Google has taken the step of adding a shortcut to the service with its YouTube app on the platform, which I’m sure will go down well with Roku and won’t force a reaction.
Google announced the addition of the “Go to YouTube TV” shortcut to the main YouTube app on the YouTube blog, saying that it will be available to all YouTube TV members on Roku over the next few days.
“We’re still working to come to an agreement with Roku to ensure continued access to YouTube TV for our mutual customers. As of right now, existing YouTube TV members still have access to the app on Roku devices. We’re also in discussions with other partners to secure free streaming devices in case YouTube TV members face any access issues on Roku.”
Google also states that it is in “ongoing, long-term conversations” with Roku to certify that new devices meet the search giant’s ‘technical requirement’. This is interesting because most Roku streaming devices are able to install way more apps than the Chromecast with Google TV device is capable of with its puny 4GB of onboard storage. But I digress, and it’s likely this is more to do with video format compatibility than the actual hardware components.
Anyhow, Google naturally says that its top priority is ‘offering a positive user experience’, which is great but it’s circumventing of Roku’s action of removing the YouTube TV app from its channel store is something that could well result in the main YouTube app joining it on the sidelines. It’s a reaction that Google itself has used on developers who bypass its rules on the Play Store, as we’ve recently seen with Epic’s Fortnite game.
Now we wait for Roku to react, and the method it chooses to do so. At this point, I’m going to bet on the YouTube app being removed from the channel store.