Google Home: another source of fake news and conspiracy theories

Devices like Google Home might seem fairly harmless at a first glance. After all, it's just a smart speaker that hosts the sympathetic Google Assistant which can be commanded via your voice. You can ask it questions, queue up some music or podcasts, and also order the device to search the web for information.

However, as some users recently found out, the small info cards (also called snippets) that serve as the basis of Google Assistant's answers can sometimes contain ridiculous falsehoods which are sadly not too uncommon in the post-fact era we live in.

Danny Sullivan, editor at SearchEngineLand, discovered that Google's top answer to the question “Is Obama planning a coup?” is actually piece of ultra-conservative propaganda. The search was done on Google's website, and the info card declared that Obama was planning a coup at the end of his presidential term and could “be in bed with the communist Chinese”:

Then, BBC News tech correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones asked Google Home the same question, and unsurprisingly, received the same answer. However, the disturbing thing here is that the smart speaker doesn't cite its source of information, nor does it give any alternative answers. 

Google apologized for the blunder, explaining that these info cards contain information from third-party websites which sometimes feature misleading content: 

source: Recode



2. liberalsnowflake

Posts: 273; Member since: Feb 24, 2017

Cnn is a very fake news

13. jsobotka

Posts: 54; Member since: Aug 21, 2009

CNN isn't a news, much less a very fake news.

3. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

but how do we know it's wrong? Of course obama would deny it! You think he would just come out and say he's planning a coup!? He's probably got a million billion drones and robot soldiers waiting in a secret underground base, under a mountain, and on the dark side of the moon!!!

8. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

thats a bit exagerated but your first phrase make sense. How do we know its not the truth? We dont because there is no source. So how do we know what the mainstream media been feeding us is true? its all based on allegation from anonymous official but media sing it like gospel. Thats the issue.. too much double standard.

17. TheVarnimal

Posts: 45; Member since: Oct 22, 2015

I hold the world record for holding my breath. I once held my breath over 5 hours in my bathtub. Now, there is no source besides myself, I don't have an video footage, but I'm telling you it happened, and that's why it is true! The media almost always has sources, and reports are based on things that actually happened. CNN may be biased, but they're not reporting things that didn't happen. Donald Trump hitting up Twitter in the early morning and tweeting about wiretaps is ridiculous. You realize people would shut up about him if he only shut up and did his job? I cannot wait until he gets impeached, it's bound to happen sooner than later.

4. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

That's the problem Google has. Too dependent on automation. They would do better if they put more people into customer support and quality assurance.

6. phonehome

Posts: 812; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

Nobody knows any disputed matter for sure unless they witnessed it first hand. Now if I write that the most popular smartphones in 2017 thus far are Samsung Galaxies and iPhones, who will dispute that?

18. PSAfromThisGuy

Posts: 146; Member since: Jan 16, 2017

i'd say PhoneArena posts some "Fake News" as well... They continuously refer to batteries "exploding"... which is False... They are NOT bombs.. Only bombs explode... So, I think that all media sites need to de-fluff and keep the news accurate and inform accordingly.. It reminds me of middle school... Just fluff up your story to make it sound more interesting.. That isn't news, that's gossip.. Wouldn't you agree @Plamen D.?

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