Reminder: Google Is an Advertising Company
Google is a large company that does a lot of things. It gives you email, a great search engine, a fantastic Maps app, and a lot of cloud storage — all for free. We also often forget that this is an advertising campaign. Anyway, until ads appear on someone’s Google Home device.
Over the past couple of days, Google Home users have heard a small note about the opening of ” Beauty and the Beast” when they asked to take stock of the day ahead. Bryson Meunier posted an excerpt from this on Twitter:
“By the way, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast live stream kicks off today,” said Google Home, in between the weather coverage and any other news that is currently in the air. Speaking with The Verge , Google has released two statements, one seems to be offering this announcement, despite being explicitly told it is not. They then quickly followed up with a statement saying that this is not an advertisement, but rather some type of algorithm that decides what content to offer you. Here’s the first statement:
This is not an advertisement; The beauty of the Assistant is that he invites our partners to be our guests and share their stories.
And here is the second statement:
This was not an advertisement. What spreads online was part of our “My Day” feature, where, after providing useful information about your day, we sometimes bring up timely content. We continue to experiment with new ways to display unique content to users, in which case we could do better.
Regardless of what Google says, we often forget that while Google is a lot, it is primarily an advertising company. According to Adweek , Google generated about 88% of its ad revenue in the second quarter of last year.
Since then, Google has removed non-ads from home, and while they deny they are ads, it’s hard to see them as anything other than a test run of this. Even if it wasn’t and was a serious mistake, the idea of placing personalized ads on Google Home seems like an easy task.
To expect a company that we already allow mining in our emails to display the best ads to do anything other than display ads on all of their products seems like gibberish. Google Home, like the Amazon Echo, is considered a helper, but obviously also a vehicle to sell you more stuff. In the case of Google, this is another way to make your profile more attractive to advertisers.
While there is no evidence that any of the companies track a microphone in the same way that they track what you do online to display personalized ads, I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes a feature in the future. Alexa is probably a little easier to understand for most of us, as everyone assumes that the product they buy from Amazon is at least partially for selling products on Amazon, but we tend to forget that Google does the same.