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November 3, 2018

New Curry’s ad summons Christmas music on Google Homes

by John_A

“Hey, Google…. play some Christmas music.”

Curry’s new Christmas ad upgrades the idyllic, Dickensian scenes of the season with some high-tech toys, and it’s quite a cute ad to my holiday-happy mind. However, many users likely aren’t getting to actually watch the ad as they scramble to shut up their Google Homes and Google Assistant-enabled devices after the ad’s first words start summoning holiday playlists.

Our new 2018 Christmas TV advert is here! The Magic of Christmas, upgraded.Shop the Magic of Christmas at Currys PC World here; https://t.co/eIH6rloIoF #ChristmasUpgraded pic.twitter.com/7Legg6Iy6O

— Currys PC World (@curryspcworld) November 1, 2018

Curry’s is an electronics retailer in the UK and Ireland, and while its holiday ads have drawn criticisms in past years, this year’s ad is both the earliest of the season — the Christmas ad launched November 1 — and it’s setting off Google Homes and Google Assistants, forcing holiday music on users weeks before Thanksgiving.

Curry’s Christmas ad is being played on broadcasts across the UK, leading to unexpected, unwated blasts of Christmas music. You can imagine how that went over

4 times mine has been set off so far, & my Google home is linked to my sound system.

— Jamie (@Cat_Toy1) November 2, 2018

Everytime this advert come on my TV, my google home mini plays a christmas playlist🙈🙈😂

— Charlie Hall (@CharlieDaniHall) November 3, 2018

This isn’t an unheard of problem — tech enthusiasts scramble around their homes muting every mic before they tune into a Google event — but for ads in the wild, both Google and Amazon keep blacklists that prevent Google Homes from triggering during their ads, and other companies often contact Google and Amazon to get their own ads added to the list avoid the backlash Curry’s is seeing.

Considering that Google takes much of the rage for this since it’s Google’s devices and services answering the ad’s command for music, Google is looking into the matter.

Hey there, we’re sorry for the trouble. If this happens again, could you file a feedback report with the keywords “Home Ad Triggered”? Here’s how: https://t.co/hpzu1WrVhX

— Made by Google (@madebygoogle) November 3, 2018

Hopefully the ad gets added to the appropriate lists and stops the super-early techno-carolers, but until then, remember that you can mute the mic on every Google Home device or Google Assistant-powered smart speaker or display using the hardware mute button on the device or by saying “OK, Google, turn off the microphone.”

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