- Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
As Google moves toward screen-free computing powered by digital assistants and artificial intelligence, one of the big questions the company faces is how it’ll translate its lucrative advertising to those platforms.
Now we’re starting to get an idea.
Some users of the new Google Home connected speaker have noticed audio ads for Disney’s upcoming “Beauty and the Beast” remake.
Here’s a clip of the ad, taken by a Google Home user and posted to Twitter. The ad comes after the user gets an update on his day from the Google Assistant:
— brysonmeunier (@brysonmeunier) March16, 2017
Now here’s the rub. A Google spokesperson told Business Insider that the ad you just heard isn’t 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,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
We’re as confused as you are by that one, and plenty of others online were too.
A few hours after the video began circulating, Google removed the mention of “Beauty and the Beast” from Google Home.
“This wasn’t intended to be an ad,” A Google spokesperson told Business Insider. “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.”
A source familiar with the partnership has since confirmed to Business insider that Disney did not pay Google for film’s mention.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai was asked multiple times by analysts on the company’s last earnings call about how he plans to monetize voice-first products like Google Home. Pichai didn’t have a clear answer, sticking to his common refrain that it’s still “early days” for the technology.
He also said voice is only “one mode” to control computers and “users will have many different ways by which they interact” with Google products.