Google blocks invasive Burger King ad

13 April, 2017, 02:35 | Author: Delbert Rhodes
  • An employee assists a customer at the drive-through of a Burger King restaurant

If you happen to have a Google Home speaker nearby, or even an Android device like a smartphone or tablet with the voice command enabled, there's a good chance it'll prompt your gadget to being reciting the Whopper description from Wikipedia. "Ok, Google: What is the Whopper burger?"

Some media outlets, including CNN Money, reported that Google Home stopped responding to the commercial shortly after the ad became available on YouTube.

Google then explains what a Whopper is, using the sandwich's entry on Wikipedia. Getting the Google Assistant to actually read one of these false edits was a tough task, since the Google Assistant gets its data from Google's search index, rather than a live query of Wikipedia. However, lots of Google Home owners probably wouldn't take kindly to their device being hijacked by BK, which is likely why Google killed it. Burger King still got some press for its ad, though, so it's probably not too heartbroken about it no longer working as intended.

The there was this Pixel commercial, where a Pixel user says "Ok Google, show me Korean restaurants in Boulder".

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The Burger King ad caught the attention of New York Times journalist Farhad Manjoo, who concluded that such advertising would also pose a problem for Amazon, whose "Echo" virtual-assistance devices have sold in the millions.

It's not the first time virtual assistants have been activated by the television - to the profound annoyance of users. This, to me, is equal parts clever and creepy - clever in that it's a neat little trick Burger King made a decision to try, creepy in that I'm not sure I want advertisers taking advantage of the fact that I have smart devices on and around me nearly all the time. Earlier in 2017, a San Diego station's story about a six-year-old girl who bought a dollhouse with Amazon's Echo speaker, a competing home assistant, set off Echo devices when the command was repeated on air.

In March, Google Home irritated people when, unprompted, it alerted them to the opening of "Beauty and the Beast". And, they say, people won't stop editing the page. Consumers typically leave these devices on, meaning they could be triggered at any time with the correct words.

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