The retail giant filed trademark requests on Dec. 5 for the names “AmazonTube” and “OpenTube.” Although the trademarks don’t necessarily mean the company plans to launch a new service, it does suggest that the company may be, at the very least, considering doing so.
It wouldn’t be a complete surprise if Amazon decided to challenge Google in the entertainment space. The two tech companies have been long-time rivals.
For the past two years, Amazon has refused to sell Google Chromecast devices on its website. Amazon appeared to offer an olive branch last Friday, when the retailer announced that it would begin selling Chromecasts, in addition to the Apple TV, but the devices are still not listed on the site. And today, Amazon Fire TVs began supporting Mozilla’s Firefox browser, in a hilariously passive-aggressive slight to Google Chrome, the world’s most popular web browser by a mile.
This streaming service would essentially be Amazon’s latest weapon. These trademarks were filed on the exact same day Google announced that it would remove its YouTube app from Amazon’s Fire TV devices Jan. 1. This, in turn, comes in response to Amazon withholding its Amazon Prime Video services from Google’s Chromecast devices (Youtube is also not available on Amazon’s Echo Show devices).
The filings outline an app for “transmitting, accessing, receiving, uploading, downloading, encoding, decoding, streaming, broadcasting, sharing, displaying, formatting, manipulating, organizing, book marking, tagging, storing, caching, and transferring electronic works.” Such works could include, according to the filings, photos, videos, text, images, documents, or books.
Amazon also claims its new product will be a social networking site, incorporating “wireless telecommunications networks in the field of online social networking.”
Sound familiar? Let’s be honest: We all know what’s going on here. Amazon is probably planning to hit Google right in the YouTube.
For many companies, like the bandwidth-starved Netflix, such a task would be herculean. But Amazon might be one of the only companies who can pose a threat to Google’s streaming behemoth. Armed with Amazon Web Services, its cloud computing platform, Amazon has unfettered access to the most powerful servers in the world. Hundreds of thousands of major sites and services, including Netflix, Giphy, Slack, and Airbnb rely on Amazon Web Services, Amazon’s cloud computing platform, for server capacity.
But that’s not the only factor at play.
Amazon has developed something of a reputation for chasing after social media trends to promote its commerce. In July, the retailer released an Instagram knockoff, Spark, solely for photos of customers with Amazon’s products, captioned with affiliate links. And earlier in the year, its Snapchat-esque photo stickers, allowing users to easily place Amazon’s products into their photos, made all of us scratch our heads.
Will Amazon Tube, if it ever exists, be yet another self-promotion thinly disguised as a social network?
Perhaps. Amazon is hardly starved for video content: The company already has a solid foothold in the video streaming space with its Amazon Video service.
Given the “social media” specification in its filing, this service looking more similar to Spark. But for Amazon Fire TV users who will be looking for a streaming fix come 2018, that may still be sufficient.
A chance to promote its content, slight Google, and keep customers hooked on the Fire TV? Frankly, we’re surprised Amazon didn’t jump on this sooner.
THIS IS AN ARCHIVED POST CREATED BACK IN 2017 NOT BY CURRENT WRITERS/STAFF/BRAND