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]
In 1992, the Federal Trade Commission opened an antitrust investigation against Microsoft; in 2001, the company settled the claims, making a slate of pro-competitive promises that were widely derided as too little, too late.
“You can wake her up at 5AM, she won’t complain.”
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