Google's smart speaker reportedly playing ads for 'Beauty and th - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: |

Google's smart speaker reportedly playing ads for 'Beauty and the Beast'

Google's smart speaker is treading in new territory: playing ads. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg) Google's smart speaker is treading in new territory: playing ads. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

(RNN) – Some users of Google’s smart speaker and personal assistant are reporting that the device is playing audio advertisements for Beauty and the Beast.

During what's supposed to be a daily briefing, Bryson Meunier’s Google Home let him know that the film was opening on Thursday. Meunier posted a video to Twitter showing the exchange.

“OK, Google. What’s my day like,” he said.

After rattling off a few routine facts about the weather and Meunier’s commute, the personal assistant plugged the film without warning or changing its voice.

“By the way, Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast opens today,” the Google Home said. “In this version, Belle is the inventor. Sounds more like it to me.”

In a bizarre statement laden with Beauty in the Beast puns but no logical argument, Google told The Verge that that audio was not 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 statement reads.

Google has received flak for the advertisement in a Reddit thread, where several other users reported receiving the same message. 

Meunier said he has not searched for the movie.

"I have a 5-year-old daughter, so the targeting isn't bad," he said. "But I haven't searched for the movie to my knowledge."

One Reddit user shared a similar sentiment.

"I don't believe I've done any searching for the film either, so I think it's not due to perceived interest," the user wrote.

Google Home – a personal assistant and smart speaker – costs $129. It’s unclear this type of advertising is a long-term strategy, but this is the first reported instance of "partners" sharing their "tales" on the product.

Because of its similarity to native advertising tactics, the ad is naturally less abrupt than traditional commercials; however, some users have criticized it for being intrusive and a violation of consumer trust.

Others have defended the ad as a revenue source to upkeep Google Assistant servers.

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