Burger King's ad disabled for hijacking Google Assistant

Burger King's ad disabled for hijacking Google Assistant

Burger King, owned by Restaurant Brands International, said the ad is not in collaboration with Google.

Hours after Burger King announced a new advertising campaign Wednesday that automatically triggered Google's Android devices, the tech giant reprogrammed its operating system to prevent smartphones from responding to the ad.

Viewers soon found that the actor's command actually triggered their Google Home assistant and Android devices with voice search enabled within earshot of the TV to read out the Whopper information from Wikipedia, a platform that anyone can edit.

If you ask Amazon Alexa, 'Alexa, what is the Whopper burger, ' the response is: 'The Whopper is a hamburger product sold by the global fast food restaurant chain Burger King and its Australian Franchise Hungry Jack's'.

The devices then find the entry on Wikipedia and read it out.

The Amazon Alexa supporting Echo speaker can order Uber rides from a users voice command, so if that were to be hijacked via an advert or other audio source, it could wreak havoc for the user and Uber drivers.

Bob Gilbreath, chief of Ahalogy, a marketing-technology company in Cincinnati, said Burger King's stunt posed a risk to Google, which introduced Home in November, given that such appliances are "new and unknown to the vast majority of people".

In January, a San Diego's CW6 News station covered a segment on a six-year-old in Texas who accidentally ordered a dollhouse and four pounds of sugar cookies after talking to the Amazon Echo device.

Quiz: What do you know about the Internet of Things?

Burger King probably got what it really wanted: publicity.

Google declined to comment and Wikipedia was not available for comment.

In the Burger King commercial, a counter person laments that the 15-second spot isn't almost enough time to describe all the ingredients in a Whopper. Phones and tablets, powered by Siri, Cortana and the Google Assistant, are less likely to recognize voices that aren't the same as their owner, but could still be affected.

Wikipedia has now temporarily suspended the ability to edit the product's entry on its site. Google quickly responded however, by stopping activations. "You don't want to create a situation where consumers are developing resentment".

In the TV commercial, the event unfolds pretty much as standard where someone talks about the product and why people should buy it.

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