Google Assistant Search Feature Presents Advertising Challenges

When It Comes to Disclosing Sponsors, Your Google Assistant May Be Mute
– Reuters

Manatt’s Richard Lawson, a partner in the firm’s consumer protection, advertising and competition group, spoke to Reuters about the advertising challenges presented by Google Assistant’s search function.

Consumers who ask the assistant questions normally get a brief answer without the ads found on the desktop version of Google Search. However, Reuters found that one Google Assistant feature violates disclosure rules. The feature recommends plumbers and other local home service providers without disclosing that the assistant’s search results draw from a curated database of companies that have joined a Google marketing program.

Lawson said that while regulators “avoid stifling new technologies,” authorities may still ask, “How do you convey meaningful disclosures?”

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