The tech giant is often criticized for its lack of customer support, and it is relatively difficult to get in touch with a member of Google staff in order to talk about any problems you may have with a Google account or service. Now it seems that the company is effectively shutting out users of older devices from YouTube apps.
Retirement of API means loss of functionality
Google announced this week that it has retired its Data API v2 for YouTube, meaning that the YouTube app will no longer function on a large number of smart devices which were manufactured in 2012 or earlier.
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Despite criticism of the move, it must be said that Google has given users of older devices a fair amount of time to prepare for the change. The retirement of Data API v2 was first spoken about in March 2014, and the company also produced a migration guide for developers that was released in September 2014.
In that time it should have been more than possible for upgrades to happen, but various devices will still lose functionality, including including 2nd-generation Apple TV, Google TV version 3 or 4, Sony and Panasonic smart TVs and Blu-ray players manufactured pre-2013, devices which run iOS 6 or earlier, and any game consoles which do not support Flash or HTML5.
Consumers forced to pay the price
It seems likely that there will be other devices which also lose functionality, particularly in the TV and Blu-ray player product categories. Most people will still able to watch YouTube on another device, but certain owners of pre-2013 smart TVs may not have any plans to upgrade for several years. In that case they will need to buy a streaming box in order to enjoy YouTube on their smart TV.
Consumers are effectively being forced to upgrade due to a lack of legacy support from Google and manufacturers’ lack of interest in upgrading their apps. There is no money to be made from upgrading apps for older devices, so the onus falls on the consumer to keep up with the never-ending technological advances which mean a device is obsolete almost immediately after its release.