Some Google Home users have reported that they can hear an audio for the recently released movie Beauty and the Beast. According to Reddit user CaptainCaptioni, Home played an audio that seemed like an advertisement for the movie after giving the usual time and weather information, all in the familiar Google Assistant voice. “I’m not a fan of ads on this device,” he said. We, however, could not independently verify the same.
Further, a Twitter user @brysonmeunier posted a 40-second video which shows Google Home playing the same ad after giving time, weather and his commute information. “For some more movie fun, ask me something about Belle,” Google Assistant on Home says at the end of the ad. The Artificial Intelligence based voice-assistant then moves on to recite news from NPR as Meunier refuses to ask ‘something about Belle’.
— brysonmeunier (@brysonmeunier) March 16, 2017
Google, however, in a statement to The Verge, has denied that the audio is an advertisement and said it was part of the company’s My Day feature. Here’s what Google said:
“This wasn’t intended to be an ad. 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.”
Another Reddit user Mechanickel pointed out that the ad isn’t just restricted to Google Home but the Assistant started to play the same on his Nexus 5X smartphone after he asked about his day. It appears that everyone is getting the same ad, one that brysonmeunier posted on Twitter.
While the Redmond-based technology giant claims it is experimenting with new features for Google Home, a majority of users did not seem to like the audio ‘ad’, and this could well be the biggest takeaway for Google from this entire experiment. Moreover, Google Home can’t make movie reservations as of now as the company does not have a tie-up with Fandango in the US. Such ‘ads’ or ‘experiments’ would have made a lot more sense if it did.