The curious case of the Disney ad that’s not an ad…
Google Home users are accustomed to snippets of requested information, but a recently reported story that has been verified by other users smells of something a little too “commercial.” In the past week, users have reported an additional bonus when asking for information from the AI device: an ad for Disney’s new release, Beauty and the Beast.
Think back to the uproar over strategically placed advertisements when Amazon first announced a Kindle e-reader that included ads on the sleep screen. It was blasted as the death of reading, just for the very notion that an Amazon customer might want to see an ad on a platform they already use for shopping. Of course, in the Kindle’s case, the ads were a trade off for getting a device of similar quality at a heavily discounted price.
In this case, however, Google Home users have already paid full price for the technology and they have no option to block it. Best of all, a Google spokesman told The Verge that it’s not an ad. Yes, the cheeky reminder that Disney’s new film is in theaters – despite the fact that the device itself cannot purchase tickets for you and therefore wasn’t offering a service – is supposedly not an ad, and therefore we can assume was not paid for by Disney?
Google Home has already had its share of criticism, largely for the privacy concerns involved in tracking users’ interactions with the device, but this might be too much of an intrusion for tech fans. It would be different if the device rattled off a laundry list of film options when prompted to, or if the user had ever searched for the film and was now bring reminded that it was available. Instead, the disruptive announcement appeared out of nowhere, yet is somehow not an indication of how Google plans to monetize on its tech.