If you used a Google Home device late last week, you may have been met with an unexpected audio advertisement for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast remake. According to a Reddit user, after greeting the device with “OK Google, good morning”, Google Home gave him the usual information about time and weather — and then added the following message:
“By the way, Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast opens today. In this version of the story, Belle is the inventor instead of Maurice. That rings truer if you ask me. For some more movie fun, ask me something about Belle.”
Other Reddit users confirmed hearing the same message, with none of them being pleased about it. Many who don’t currently own Google Home swore off buying it altogether after hearing about the ads. Not good for Google’s fledgling smart home device.
No matter how you look at it, an unprompted conversation which is promotional in nature can hardly be interpreted as anything other than an ad. However, Google’s PR machine doesn’t want you to think so.
A Google spokesperson stated the following:
”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.”
Google’s PR spin didn’t go over well and the company has since removed audio ads from the device. Although that doesn’t mean they won’t return in the future as Google continues to “experiment”.