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]
Russia’s communications regulator says it has blocked IP addresses owned by Google and Amazon because Moscow claims the internet addresses are used by the Telegram messaging service that was banned by Putin’s regime this week.
Steven Melendez discovered some public domain government documents in Google Books that the service wouldn't let him download because they had been misclassified as copyrighted; he filled in an online form and less than a week later, a human had reviewed the documents, agreed that they had been misclassified and removed all restrictions.
Public records requests have revealed that on at least four occasions, the Raleigh-Durham police obtained warrants forcing Google to reveal the identities of every mobile user within acres of a crime scene, sweeping up the personal information of thousands of people in a quest to locate a single perp.
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