There is the question of how Google will make ad revenue from its smart speaker and smart display devices doesn’t really have an answer (this goes for Amazon’s devices as well). But now, it looks like there is an answer. Reuters discovered that Google is presenting Local-Services ads in voice search results for local queries.
In the Reuters article, there is discussion about Google’s relatively new ads in Home results in the context of if the company is making the required disclosures to consumers and if it violates the FTC’s prohibition against “consumer deception.”
As an example, if you search for “plumber,” Home takes consumers through an interaction to confirm their location (and possibly even the nature of the job) and then gives you a list of results. Home offers to call the results in order. It even sends the list to a user’s email address.
As you can see from the image above (From Greg Sterling), the results with the green badge (“Google Guaranteed“) are Local Services ads. Businesses aren’t able to get that badge without being a Local Services advertiser.
Even though there currently isn’t an ad or “sponsored” disclosure in the email or in voice interaction on Google Home, it won’t be a surprise if this changes as to avoid FTC scrutiny and possibly a fine. When doing the same search online or on mobile, similar results will appear. But all the Local Services ads are labeled as “sponsored.”
This seems to a hint that Google wants to monetize Home with search advertising in the future. The company will need to create a to disclose the fact that some of the search results are actually ads. There will have to have something in the results saying that “some results are from advertisers,” or the like.