Google rolled out the first advertisement for Home, its voice-activated speaker powered by Google Assistant. Various users of the device report they've heard an advertisement for Disney's new Beauty and the Beast movie. The ad is sneaked in after the device covers its usual routine:
“By the way, Disney’s live action Beauty and The Beast opens today,” the Assistant says, after covering the usual time, weather, and commute routine. “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.” Meunier didn’t respond, so Home simply said “Have a good one” and moved on to the day’s news headlines from NPR. Google Home doesn’t yet work with Fandango, so it’s not like users could even take advantage of the ad and quickly reserve tickets at a local theater. The company has since stopped serving the Beauty and the Beast content to users.
Here's an example of how the ad is implemented, seems like his daughter was pretty excited by the ad!
Some users report they've also heard the ad after using Google Assistant on their smartphone.
Google on the other hand claims this is not an ad but a "call out of timely content":
When contacted by The Verge for more information, Google denied that the audio snippet was actually an ad, initially providing this rather strange statement: “This isn't an ad; the beauty in the Assistant is that it invites our partners to be our guest and share their tales.” That appeared to describe... an advertisement. Using Beauty and the Beast references. Later on Thursday, Google sent a follow-up statement with a more thorough explanation:
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.