back to article Spammy Google Home spouts audio ads without warning – now throw yours in the trash

Google Home, the web giant's internet-connected talking personal assistant, has started spamming audio adverts to unsuspecting folk today. Never before have we witnessed a technology giant destroy a product with such precision-engineered idiocy. Don't be evil? Do us a favor. Promos for Disney's new Beauty and the Beast flick …

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Re: Easily fixed

"This site cannot load" is becoming a LOT more common as well. Soon, it'll probably reach the point where it's open yourself up to spyware and malware or you can't surf the Internet. And many times it won't be the site owner who demands it but the host or proxy from which the site owner has to depend. Just you watch. Cloudflare is going to mainline ads straight into the HTML in the near future so you can't block them without blocking the actual content.

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Re: Easily fixed

Already happening. Third Party Blobs. Use AdBlockPlus and look for those in the list of items to block, then block each one. NoScript doesn't see <script> so ignores the blob.

Should be a way to block any blob from executing. Who knows what's in the blob.

"Bob's Blob Block"

PS Somebody has to get the personal assistants together and report back.

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Re: Personal Advisor

@robertcirca

I don't think you realize just how much of the infrastructure of the web is controlled by the big players like "goofy" and "facebroken" Or how many large institutions make use of their services and therefore have information pertaining to you running over them.

Trite, "I am better than you because I don't use them" statements just shows your unknowledge of the bigger picture.

Your ISP will be selling your web-surfing habits to them anyway, and any financial information available to anyone will also be in their hands as will you medical records.

Laughing about these guys with funny names for their front ends believing they don't affect you is just dangerous, dumbing them down allows them to act with impunity as the average person (like you) thinks they don't affect them

PS hey, "unknowledge" is a real word

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Trollface

Re: Easily fixed

Seriously... at the end of the day, you want to find a bunch of hardware sitting in a circle, chanting "OBEY AND CONSUME" in unison...?

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Re: Personal Advisor

I do not have a Goofy account,

They don't need that. Your identity can be uniquely tracked by PC configuration data that your browser will supply, by combinations of cookies, browser history, geolocation, connection data.

You'll have some defence if using Ghostery, Ublock or other script and cookie blockers, or using one of the "privacy-first" browsers. OTOH if you're using Chrome or a Microsoft browser.....

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Trollface

Re: Easily fixed

and you really have to worry when they start chanting "Exterminate...Exterminate...Exterminate.."

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Boffin

@Charles 9 Re: Easily fixed

I pay for the WSJ digital edition.

But then again, according to WSJ I've been a subscriber since 1965. (My account got merged with my dad's account. But I have been a subscriber for over 25 years now. )

I use Adblock, and NoScript. So FB and Google don't see me. I do see some ads because they are being hosted by WSJ directly however, its a paid content site so its less intrusive.

I think you'll start to see more paid content sites for those that have actual value. As to other news sites, they make their money off their TV ads and sites if they start to work to bypass filters... they stop using them. I no longer read Fortune for that very reason. Content is not worth white listing them.

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Re: Personal Advisor

"Do not believe that a box made of plasic set up in your living room cares about YOU. If you do, you must be stupid, very stupid."

Newsflash: most people in this world are stupid, very stupid. Google knows this, which is why it is rich, very rich.

You know this, of course, because you are not so stupid. Neither am I. But we and others like us - including many readers of this thread - are a tiny minority, condemned to drowing in a vast sea of endless stupid.

What can we do about it? Many things. Join a wacko religion. Switch off the computer and grow tomatoes in the back yard. Drink heavily. Close your eyes and wait to die. Post grumbles on the Register. Get rich by investing in a company with a business model heavily based on assuming that most people are stupid.

None of these strategies will actually do any good, of course, but they help the time go by.

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Re: Easily fixed

Looks like Sandboxie will become the de facto method to browse the web.

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Re: @Charles 9 Easily fixed

"I use Adblock, and NoScript. So FB and Google don't see me."

Don't be so sure about that. FB in particular have become masters of finding ways to get their content loaded inline with the actual content whether you have blockers or not. And more and more sites are probably going to get proxies so that they're inline with the content, making them part and parcel. And while YOU may stop visiting them, what about being outvoted by nigh everyone else?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Easily fixed

Until they block Sandboxie...

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Re: Easily fixed

"Already happening. Third Party Blobs."

I'm thinking worse: inlined right into the article in a way that can't be easily filtered (such as making the word "ADVERTISEMENT" into a PNG with a randomized name or something), and if the government throws a hissyfit, re-base in a country where such laws don't exist.

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Facepalm

I could see this coming...

Presumably amazon is watching carefully for when it can do the same thing.

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Joke

Howdy-doodly-do...

These things are almost as annoying as a "Talkie toaster"...

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Re: Howdy-doodly-do...

No toast, no teacakes, no crumpets, baps bagels or waffles.... and definitely... no smeggin flapjacks.

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Re: Howdy-doodly-do...

So, you're a bagel man!

*Sky darkens with Amazon drones bearing bread products

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Re: Howdy-doodly-do...

Oh man - from now on, El Reg should *totally* refer to all these devices as Talkie Toasters. TTs for short.

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Chatbots could totally be a trillion-dollar industry

If true, it would prove either that Marketing are geniuses or too many consumers are dumb.

But then it might be an improvement over low budget soaps, reality TV and such.

Shouldn't all of these be illegal under EU privacy directives, especially German ones? It's not the same as switching on Commercial Radio.

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Re: Chatbots could totally be a trillion-dollar industry

But adverts have to be relevant and added when it’s least likely to irritate the user

I suggest advertising at 3am on January 3rd 2798. That shouldn't be too irritating.

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Boffin

Re: Chatbots could totally be a trillion-dollar industry

" Chatbots could totally be a trillion-dollar industry

If true, it would prove either that Marketing are geniuses or too many consumers are dumb."

There's this guy named Gruber... ;-)

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Coat

Re: Chatbots could totally be a trillion-dollar industry

"There's this guy named Gruber... ;-)"

Does he live next door to Paddington Bear?

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Pint

Re: Chatbots could totally be a trillion-dollar industry

@Mage "If true, it would prove either that Marketing are geniuses or too many consumers are dumb."

I know the former isn't true so it must be the latter. :) PP

ICON>> Friday.

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Re: Chatbots could totally be a trillion-dollar industry

"There's this guy named Gruber... ;-)"

Does he live next door to Paddington Bear?

Only if Paddington Bear moved to Cambridge Mass. and is a professor at MIT. (Sloan I think)

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ObManics

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7UTnXWILHYY

The gleeful relish with which the writer attacked this story is marvellous to behold. Keep biting, Reg.

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"...when it’s least likely to irritate the user,"

....and it will be something to listen to when Hell is freezing over.

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Re: "...when it’s least likely to irritate the user,"

The only time it won't irritate me is when I'm not there.

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FAIL

Show stopper

Wow ... I officially don't want one now.

The only way I would accept advertisements on this piece of hardware would be if they gave the device to me for free.

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Google can......

go f*ck themselves.

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Re: Google can......

Can I recommend visiting Ann Summers, just past Costa Coffee? Costa are currently offering a 10% discount for visitors willing to show their 14" Black Mamba in action.

Rated 2 out of 5 stars by one user in 2014.

Opening times are.....

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Boffin

Hackable home helps?

The only possible use for these things is to hack them up to play WOPR, Eddie, Orac or similar suitable wisecracking digital sidekick that grumbles constantly but then saves the day without being asked.

Maybe in another rev or two of the hardware...

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Google needs human customers

This is the problem with Google, they have no human customers. They have millions of human cattleusers, but all their customers are pretty much businesses.

They don't sell individuals email accounts, they give them away for free, and pay with advertising. They don't sell individuals search results, just more ads. Even Android is free, if you don't mind the ads.

With no real customers, they don't have a good option to start charging for services at an individual level. It's not how they gained their user base.

Amazon's customer's are actual people, they buy products and pay for Prime membership, so Amazon doesn't really need to inject ads (but you can always ask for ads if you want).

Facebook, Twitter, etc.. are going to have a similar issue with their services as Google.

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Re: Google needs human customers

"Amazon's customer's are actual people, they buy products and pay for Prime membership, so Amazon doesn't really need to inject ads (but you can always ask for ads if you want)."

That must be why Amazon makes you pay more for a Kindle that doesn't throw adds in all the time or those "Actually Free" apps from their store put up an ad for something random when they start up. The only reason Alexa isn't touting the new Kindles is Amazon didn't have the cojones to try it first.

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Re: Google needs human customers

"With no real customers, they don't have a good option to start charging for services at an individual level. It's not how they gained their user base."

I think it's more a case where they couldn't charge a comparable rate compared to what they already get from the ad revenues. Kinda like how cable channels (which are PAID for; ask the cable companies) still post ads everywhere. It's the only way to keep the cable companies from balking at the actual costs to operate.

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Re: Amazon's customer's are actual people

Which is why AWS is the only part of Amazon that makes money.

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Re: Amazon's customer's are actual people

Or simply the only part that Amazon WANTS to look like it's actually making money. The rest use AWS as a screen to avoid taxes and regulation.

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Seriously, people are surprised?

This is fucking Google...

This should not shock *anyone*...

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The Update is definitely a piece of wonderment....

Not an ad, they say.... but an invitation to be a guest and share. Almost Facebookish... I do believe the marketeers have started to believe their own BS. Or maybe it's just an alternate reality/truth?

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Re: The Update is definitely a piece of wonderment....

Yeah, to summarize: "This is not an ad...j/k it's totally an ad"

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Re: The Update is definitely a piece of wonderment....

'Or maybe it's just an alternate reality/truth?'

Sorry mate, this is it. The new reality.

Too many idiots unwilling to question or learn, the marketeers are winning.

One of my favourite Douglas Adams lines is:

Curiously, an edition of the Encyclopedia Galactica which conveniently fell through a rift in the time-space continuum from 1000 years in the future describes the Marketing Department of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as:

"A bunch of mindless jerks who were the first against the wall when the revolution came."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Update is definitely a piece of wonderment....

"This isn't an ad; the beauty in the Assistant is that it invites our partners to be our guest and share their tales."

No fucking way. FAKE NEWS!!! (Please, please tell me you made this up.)

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Re: The Update is definitely a piece of wonderment....

Yup by the looks of it they even managed to get an ad into their official response. I like Google and what they do but even I'm disappointed with the advert and their response.

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Flame

Re: The Update is definitely a piece of wonderment....

"Not an ad, they say.... but an invitation to be a guest and share."

Yep. When I read that and Google response, I thought "Liar liar, pants on fire!!!"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Update is definitely a piece of wonderment....

I actually see their viewpoint; it's not an ad, it's a spammy notification. Like Google Now showing you articles that "may interest you", or Google Maps notifications warning you about the traffic in your area.

Though really the only difference is that nobody's paying them to display the stuff.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Update is definitely a piece of wonderment....

"A bunch of mindless jerks who were the first against the wall when the revolution came."

Thing is, I would counter:

"Then they were promptly freed and their aggressors beheaded without even the benefit of being put against a wall by the drones programmed by the jerks (who also happened to have copied their consciousnesses into the cloud as a failsafe."

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Anonymous Coward

Yay for hardware attached to cloud services

It can be changed overnight to pipe excrement into your home and you probably couldn't do a thing about it.

Consumer laws need an upgrade and fast.

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Unhappy

Re: Yay for hardware attached to cloud services

Indeed, and it puts a new angle on this one from the other day:

Most of 2016's holes had fixes the day we knew about 'em. Did we patch? Did we @£$%

I will patch when the patch benefits me. I will not patch when the net benefit is in favour of the vendor ("v1.01: HIGH PRIORITY SECURITY FIX - we now show you ads every 10 minutes, fixing a gaping security hole in our revenue model").

Of course, with cloud stuff like Google Home, Nest, Alexa &c. you don't even have the choice - you WILL be patched, automatically, and suck it up.

I've long argued that there should be an expectation of security fixes - without bundled changes to UI or other functionality - for the supported life of the product. Oh, and I'd like a unicorn too please, and a perpetual-motion machine.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yay for hardware attached to cloud services

You want a data harvester bot that doesn't harvest your data? Seems contradictory.

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Joke

Re: Yay for hardware attached to cloud services

"Oh, and I'd like a unicorn too please, and a perpetual-motion machine."

For the right price, I'm sure we can do that.

...oh wait, you wanted a living unicorn and a working perpetual-motion* machine**?!?

* Well, technically, you're sitting on a giant one right now***

** You never said anything about wanting to actually extract useful work out of it...

*** Relevant commercial regulations allow us to advertise anything spanning over ten times the expected lifespan of the customer as "perpetual"

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404
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Mushroom

Kill it with Fire

Orbital or point blank - does_not_matter.

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Re: Kill it with Fire

Oh? What if it SURVIVES?

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