It was inevitable, considering Google is an ad company that makes more than 90-percent of its revenues from ads, but they are now showing up more prominently in Google Home.
Google has been showing ads in Google Assistant for a little bit. It started testing them back in February, and earlier this month, it started rolling out for everyone. These ads were mostly for search results. So it looked very similar to what you’d see if you went to Google’s website to search for something. Ads were there, but many weren’t too upset with it, since it was the same as using search on the web.
Now that YouTube Music is finally available on Google Home (something that was a bit of a surprise to many, thinking it was already available), it is able to start playing audio ads between songs. Similar to how Pandora does it. And since most are going to listen to YouTube Music through their Google Home speaker, this is another way to push ads. Those that pay for YouTube Premium for $9.99 per month, don’t worry. That is going to remain ad-free.
This is just the start for Google Home and Google Assistant though. The search giant is exploring other ways that it can push more ads to its users. Which includes searching for local stores, or restaurants. Google would be able to charge businesses to show up when users search for something specific. For example, McDonald’s could pay Google to appear when someone searches for “burgers” or “Burger King”.
It is also going to start getting fees from shopping through the Assistant. Now that’s not quite adding ads to Google Home, but it is monetizing it.
Finally, Google is also planning to release a larger smart display, and brand it with the “Nest” name. By doing this, Google could show more display ads (which pay more than text ads) on the screen. Say you ask for the weather, Google could show an ad at the bottom. The weather doesn’t need the full 10-inch display to show that to you, so it shouldn’t hinder the user-experience, as long as Google does it correctly.
Ads on Google Assistant and Google Home shouldn’t be a huge surprise. Google was going to find a way to monetize both platforms sooner or later. This is a search engine and an ad company first. Google still makes about 95-percent of its revenue from ads, meaning that it is a very important part of its business, and it is needed for Google to survive. It took Google many years to bring ads into Gmail on the web and even longer in the Gmail mobile apps. Which was a bit of a surprise, but Google isn’t wasting any time with Assistant and Home.
These ads shouldn’t be too intrusive. This is something that Google has been working on recently. Making sure that ads are not over obtrusive, as they do tend to hinder the user-experience on some websites and apps. As long as it doesn’t hinder the experience for users, it shouldn’t be a big deal for most people – we already see ads everywhere anyways.