Google Home users typically greet their device every morning expecting a quick briefing of the news and weather before they go about their day. They don't expect an audio ad for Disney's Beauty and the Beast remake, but that's what they're now getting.
Several users on Reddit said they got the ad this morning, and Vivid Seats SEO director Bryson Meunier posted a video of the ad in action on Twitter.
New Beauty & the Beast promo is one way Google could monetize Home. cc: @firstname.lastname@example.org/9UlukSocrO
‚ÄĒ brysonmeunier (@brysonmeunier) March 16, 2017
"By the way, Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast opens today," Google Home casually said after reading the briefing. "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." After a couple beats of silence, getting the hint that Meunier didn't want to ask about Belle, Google Home goes on to talk about the latest news.
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A Google spokesperson told Wareable that the reminder isn't an ad, with a statement that didn't clarify much and was, essentially, another 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." Huh.
Later, a Google spokesperson provided a more thorough statement explaining that the reminder is a part of a feature. "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 Now will usually create a special card letting users know a movie they searched for in the past opened in theaters, so it would make sense for Google Home to mirror that functionality. However, several users receiving the ad said they have showed no previous interest in the film, and those with Google Now note they haven't received a card about it either.
Ads are how Google pays the bills, so it wouldn't be surprising to see the Mountain View company adding them to Google Home, but having ads on what is supposed to be more a personal home-based device is sure to turn off plenty of users.