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Google Home, Beauty and the Beast, and Google’s dilemma
Though the search giant has specified that the Beauty and the Beast promotion was not an ad, it could be a proof-of-concept for future voice ads.
Google wreaked havoc yesterday when it decided to slip in a promotion for the just-released Beauty and the Beast movie right into its virtual assistant. Multiple Google Home users reported that in between going over the weather and your schedule for the day, Google Assistant would mention Disney’s latest movie and sum up its storyline. To make it worse, these Beauty and the Beast ads also appeared on Google Assistant-enabled phones.
That was certainly the first time that anything of this sort had happened, and let’s just say that people were not too happy about it. Google has since then removed this unsolicited promotion and clarified that it was not an ad but instead was a way of trying to “call out timely content.” And the company added that it would continue “to experiment with new ways to surface unique content for users,” and that’s where things get interesting/worrisome.
And the company added that it would continue “to experiment with new ways to surface unique content for users,” and that’s where things get interesting/worrisome.
Although ads for Beauty and the Beast may have ended, the search giant might have more timely content prepared for us. In fact, The Wall Street Journal claims that Google could use the Beauty and the Beast promotion as a proof-of-concept to “try to sell companies on using Home as an advertising platform in the future.”
The dilemma for Google essentially boils down to this: how can it monetize Google Home?
The dilemma for Google essentially boils down to this: how can it monetize Google Home? Voice-activated home assistants are on the rise, and in fact, smart speaker shipments are predicted to be over 24 million this year. This means that eventually people will move away from Google’s conventional search engine – where search ads are found – to voice assistants. Google makes money from advertising, but unlike ads embedded within websites, voice interactions make it difficult for subtle advertisement. Google’s dilemma is then finding a balance between an effective monetization of these voice-activated products to make them profitable enough and at the same time not pushing away existing and potential consumers by being too aggressive.
As Google’s search chief John Giannandrea said, “If [consumers] find [Google Home] useful and they use it at scale then we’ll figure out a way [to monetize them].” Perhaps that time has come.
What are your thoughts on voice ads on devices like Google Home? Let us know by leaving a comment below!