Google won’t be able to resist listening in on your conversations

Mr Algorithm is always listening

The advertising trial balloon from Google Home really shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone. Okay, perhaps, the linguistic contortions performed by Google’s PR rep to The Verge should have raised an eyebrow. I mean just listen to the bullshit drip from this one:

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

But the fact is that Google is an advertisement company. That’s how they make their billions. By selling you to companies who’d like you to buy their stuff. And that process is made much more efficient if Google can sell not only your profile, but your context to these advertisers. Google Home is irresistibly good context.

So this trial balloon of sticking ads in your daily briefing really is just that. Google’s follow-up statement went with as much: “We’re continuing to experiment with new ways to surface unique content for users”. Oh how lovely, how helpful!

Look. Online advertising and privacy has always been at war. Listening in on your conversations because you placed an always-on microphone in your home is just the next obvious hill to capture. Google has already normalized reading your emails for context-aware advertisement. Listening to your dinner conversations is just a natural jump.

In a year’s time, we’ll probably be hearing just how much Google is able to DELIGHT their users by serving up purchase recommendations ten minutes after that dinner. Did someone talk about desert? Ben & Jerry’s can deliver by drone now! It’ll be on your doorstep in 30 minutes if you buy now.

Welcome to the present.