Google Rolls Out Ads to Google Home, Then Promptly Removes Them

Posted March 21, 2017

"This isn't an ad; the beauty in the Assistant is that it invites our partners to be our guest and share their tales", a spokesperson for the company said in a statement (via BusinessInsider).

He further added that Google faces a distinct dispute to Amazon, which markets rival home assistant the Amazon Echo. Being hassled by advertisers while using Home isn't a "feature" that Google has ever talked about before. Multiple retailers are now offering two Google Home units for $229, a $30 savings over the usual individual unit price of $129.

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.

"By the way, Disney's live action Beauty and the Beast opens today", says, Google Home, in between spots on the weather and whatever other news stories are popular at the moment. The Verge contacted Google, but Google denied that it was an ad. Google Home normally sells for $130 for a single unit, so you're saving around $30 by taking advantage of this deal. This was incorporated by the company as part of the My Day feature, which offers users helpful tips and information about the day. Even if you couldn't opt out, getting a heads up ahead of time is the bare minimum I'd expect; that email wouldn't keep me from getting ticked off about the change, but at least I'd be aware of what was happening. "We will be continuing to experiment with new ways to surface unique content for users and we could have done better in this case". But that content was related to Black History Month and the Oscars.

And according to a report from BBC, the "ad" has since disappeared without a trace.

Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight said the rise of digital assistants presents a "tricky conundrum" for advertising sales. Within a few hours Google had removed the ad from Home and issues a mild apology.

Roemmele believes commercial transactions, not advertising, will become the revenue generator in voice-based interactions between consumers and service technology. Through Amazon, of course. For a certain segment of the population, it's a great idea; everyone has forgotten to purchase essentials at one time or another, and regretted it. That feature hasn't materialized yet, but it's pretty much inevitable. Although that doesn't mean they won't return in the future as Google continues to "experiment".

Well, Assistant, the virtual help-bot residing in Home, could just read out an ad.

But don't be too surprised if they start sneaking back in.