Amazon banned the use of the word Google

    The war of two Internet giants continues , fiercely competing on the basis of smart speakers and cloud web services. In previous episodes, Amazon suddenly removed all products from Google and its affiliates from their store. And when Google in retaliation blocked access to its YouTube for devices manufactured by Amazon, it made a pirated application to bypass the block and applied for AmazonTube, its own video streaming service. After CES 2018, where companies measured the steepness of their smart speakers, and Google flooded all of Las Vegas with their Google Home banner ads, most experts thought the internet giants would cool. But it was not there. An independent developer recently discoveredthat Amazon seems to have begun to ban the use of the word "Google" on its devices.

    The discovery was completely accidentally made by one of the creators of the “skills” for Alexa (programs for voice assistant, allowing him to perform new functions, a la applications on Google Play and the App Store) under the nickname TsaTsaTzu. His “skill” called Mind Maze is one of the most popular puzzle games on the platform. The user enters a virtual maze from which it is necessary to get out, giving Alex the direction of the path (north, south, east, west, up, down ...). Remembering where the dead ends are and finding a way out in two dimensions is simple, but in three and four it is incredibly difficult (judging by user reviews, you get confused right away).

    Skill was released in 2016, but recently TsaTsaTzu decided to update it. And here - bam! - Amazon does not accept it. "Not good." TsaTsaTzu (real name is Joe Jacinta ) is one of the most experienced software developers for Echo. Two and a half years ago, he even published a book on how to program these “skills”. Plus, the exact same utility works fine on Google Home. Therefore, he immediately felt something was wrong, and turned to support to find out the reason why his skill was suddenly rejected.

    It turned out that the skill worked quite well, there were no problems during the game. But at the end, Mind Maze was supposed to remind users how to repeat the session (more application calls = more money for the skill developer). The program should have said something like “If you want to play some more, say,“ Alexa, turn on Mind Maze. ” Instead, she said, “If you like card games, say,“ Ok Google, turn on 21 blackjacks. ” Oops! TsaTsaTzu had a small bug: the final phrase from another program on which he had previously worked for Google Home.

    But it’s even more interesting that the new version of Mind Maze was rejected not at all because of the presence of a bug, but precisely because of the phrase O-Tom-Who-Can-Not-Call. At least, this is how the developers wrote testers from Amazon, who rejected the skill:

    Current result : the skill advertises Google Home, saying the words “OK, Google” when the user says “Stop” or “Cancel”.

    Expected Result : The skill should not advertise Google Home.

    TechCrunch reporters write that, of course, it is logical that Amazon does not want Alexa users to be referred to a competitor. And launching an application with a bug on the platform, no matter how small it may seem, is also not very good. But the reason for the refusal seems strange: instead of marking “the wrong phrase on exit,” the Amazon team somehow says “don’t mention Google.” At the same time, in the agreement with the developers for Alexa, the company does not indicate anywhere that in the skills it is impossible to refer to competitors or mention any specific companies.

    After a little scandal, Amazon recently released a statement . As expected, testers were thrown under the train: they say they didn’t put it right, but in fact we do not prohibit any special words in “skills”. Although brand names and trademarks are better not to use, just in case, otherwise you never know what. *Wink*.

    Well, Mind Maze was finally restored , after the developer replaced the phrase with Google on the way out. After all the news, the game received a new wave of traffic. For Amazon, it was a (relatively small) PR failure, but at least for TsaTsaTzu the story ended with a happy ending.

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