Speaking to the helpful nature of Google Assistant, asking “What’s my day like” plays a summary of your commute, reminders, and calendar events. Today, users have observed that during the ‘My Day’ feature on both phones and Google Home an ad for a new Disney movie plays.
The specific ad that users began hearing this morning is for the Beauty and the Beast remake. It plays right after Google Home finishes with weather, commute, reminders, and calendar events, but before the long news reports and podcasts.
Starting off with “By the way,” the Home notes that the movie is opening today and goes into some detail about how the remake differs from the original. Google Assistant’s default robotic voice is used to read the message with background music and sound effects also playing.
Notably, the background tune is identical to a previous added message about Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January. This ad ends with Google telling users that they can ask “for more movie fun” which brings up the Assistant’s built-in trivia game.
As a successor to Google Now, the continued addition of ads is notable. In the past, the company has not placed ads in the Now stream of cards. This change could possibly signal a new way for Google to serve ads to users. At the moment, there does not appear to be a place for users to opt-out of ads in settings.
While the Feed, as it is now officially refered to, does show cards for previously searched for movies, the ad during My Day does not appear to be limited to those users.
Update: In a statement, Google disagrees with the categorization of today’s clip as 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.”
In a lengthier, second statement, Google reaffirms that it wasn’t an ad, but adds that it was an experiment to “surface unique content for users.” Coincidentally, using ‘My Day’ on my Pixel seems to no longer play the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ portion, as Google notes that they could “have done better in this case.”
“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.”