UPDATE: Google has now stopped playing the Beauty and the Beast ad and offered up a second statement, saying that it “wasn’t intended to be an ad” and that it was an experiment of the My Day feature that aims to call out timely content after providing info about your day.
ORIGINAL: Google Home has a broad feature set, including the ability to serve up facts, tell you the weather, give you the latest news, and give you a heads-up about your commute. And apparently it can play ads now, too.
Several Google Home users report that their smart speaker served them an ad for the new Beauty and the Beast movie today. Twitter user Bryson Muenier recorded the ad as it played during his Google Home daily summary.
“By the way, Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast opens today,” the Google Home says after telling Muenier about the weather. “In this version of the story, Belle is the inventor instead of Maurice. That rings truer if you ask me.” The Home then suggested Bryson ask to hear more about Belle, but he didn’t, so it went ahead and began serving up news like normal.
— brysonmeunier (@brysonmeunier) March 16, 2017
When asked about the snippet, Google denied that it’s actually an ad. “This isn't an ad; the beauty in the Assistant is that it invites our partners to be our guest and share their tales,” the company told The Verge.
This whole situation is pretty strange. Not only is this the first time that we’ve heard anything like this from the Google Home, but it’s also weird that Google is denying that this is an ad. It may be short, but it’s definitely an ad that aims to remind people that Beauty and the Beast is now in theaters, even though some users say that they’ve never searched for the movie before.
Have you heard this ad on your Google Home?