Google is known for its not great support. If you have a problem with a Google account or associated service, good luck trying to talk to someone at Google about it. It’s a very hands-off way of dealing with products, and it looks as though that also extends to support for older devices being able to use those services.
This week Google has retired its Data API v2 for YouTube, which means that a long list of smart devices manufactured in 2012 or earlier will no longer have functioning YouTube apps. This is the video you are going to see playing if one or more of your devices are affected:
It’s not as though Google hasn’t given fair warning about this change. The retirement of Data API v2 was announced in March 2014, and a migration guide for developers was made available in September last year. That’s plenty of time for upgrades to happen. However, there’s still a range of devices that will lose functionality, including 2nd-generation Apple TV, Google TV version 3 or 4, Sony and Panasonic smart TVs and Blu-ray players manufactured pre-2013, any device running iOS 6 or earlier, and any game consoles that don’t support Flash or HTML5. There are sure to be many more devices, especially in the TV and Blu-ray player product categories, that will soon have non-functioning YouTube apps.
Watching YouTube is still incredibly easy to do and most people will have a laptop, PC, or recent streaming device that’s capable. However, there’s going to be a lot of consumers out there with smart TVs from 2012 or earlier who have no intention of upgrading for several years yet. In that case a streaming box will be necessary if the YouTube app on their TV was being used and needs replacing.
I think this is another example of how our reliance on connected features turns into products with a growing list of broken features. In this case Google has decided not to offer legacy support for this API, and manufacturers have decided not to spend any time or money upgrading an app because there’s no profit in it. We are all just expected to upgrade.