Google Home: a $129 speaker that plays advertisements when you ask it for a "daily briefing"

Owners of Google Home smart-speakers got a surprise today when their personal assistants finished the "daily briefing" (a rundown of weather, calendar reminders an traffic info) with a plug for Disney's new Beauty and the Beast movie: ""By the way, Disney’s live action Beauty and The Beast opens today," followed by a long spiel for the movie.

Even if you pay for the product, you're still the product. Google claims it wasn't an ad.

Google refused to call the Beauty and the Beast reminder an ad, saying this was their engineers playing with new methods of surfacing interesting content in daily briefings.

"This wasn’t intended to be an ad," said a Google spokesperson regarding the incident. "What’s circulating online was a part of our My Day feature, where after providing helpful information about your day, we sometimes call out timely content. We’re continuing to experiment with new ways to surface unique content for users and we could have done better in this case."

The My Day briefing lasted 11 seconds, while the "Beauty and the Beast" ad played for 15. To be fair, the Google Home assistant continued to "surface" new content after the movie ad by promoting the day's headlines.

Google Home Devices Start Playing Ads, Forcing Many to Reconsider Their Purchase [Catalin Cimpanu/Bleeping Computer]

Notable Replies

  1. And I was so close to buying one of these home assistant things, too!

    Before this, the idea of buying a device from an advertising company to sit in my living room and listen to my conversations sounded like a great idea.

  2. JonS says:

    Uh huh. yeah sure. We've been to this rodeo before.

  3. I finally started watching "Black Mirror." This reminds me of the dystopian world of the second episode in which citizens were forced to view advertisements unless they paid the requisite number of "merits."

  4. It's not an ad because we say it's not an ad. It's a promotional intercontent message. Welcome to alternative facts.

  5. "Computer, Earl grey, hot."
    Are you sure you wouldn't rather have a refreshing Romulan ale?
    "Data! The fucking Ferengi virus is still in the ship's computer!"

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