Sorry, but audio ads are a deal breaker for Google Home

Movie promos fly against search company’s long history of delivering unobtrusive advertising.

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Google Home Ads:

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Google Home isn’t yet officially available in Canada, but it may as well never come if the search company continues integrating ads into its speaker.

Several users on Thursday noticed that their Home devices, which house the artificially intelligent Google Assistant, were playing ads for the new Beauty and the Beast film.

The ad is read in the Assistant’s own voice and comes after the Home has wrapped up its daily preview for its user. A recording of the ad was posted on Twitter:

Several Reddit users also reported hearing similar ads through the Google Assistant on Android phones. Google, for its part, is denying that the Beauty and the Beast promo is 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,” a representative told The Verge.

The development brings two pithy thoughts to mind: this is not cool, and this is most definitely a deal breaker.

I actually just got a Google Home last week while in the United States and have been loving it. Had I known it would be a vehicle to deliver ads, there’s no way I would have bought it. I’m willing to bet that most consumers will take the same position.

These audio ads – assuming there’s no way to opt out of them – are as obtrusive as they get. They’re the complete opposite of the ads Google has built its business on. It’s easy to ignore ads in search or even Gmail, but there’s no filtering them out of your ears.

It’s also a bait-and-switch for existing Google Home owners. We thought we were getting a neat gadget to help with our schedules and home automation, but instead we got a Trojan ad horse? No thanks.

With Google facing fierce competition in the AI assistant and home speaker spaces from Amazon and Apple, this ad experiment – or whatever the company wants to call it – is likely to be short-lived.

UPDATE: Google seems to have quickly realized that ads would be a Home killer. Engadget reports the Beauty and the Beast ad has been removed from speakers. The company also told the website it “could have done better in this case.”

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