Burger King TV Ad Highlights Voice Recognition Challenge For Smart Speakers

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Burger King made headlines yesterday when it began running a 15-second television ad made to intentionally activate Google Home speakers and Android phones within earshot.

    The simple commercial involves someone posing as a Burger King employee who leans into the camera to ask the question "OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?" - a request designed to prompt Google virtual assistants nearby to start reading the burger's Wikipedia entry. To the relief of many, Google quickly moved to prevent its Home speakers from responding to the ad by registering the sound clip and disabling the trigger.


    Voices on TV have been inadvertently triggering smart speakers for months now, but the ad represents the first attempt by a company to purposely hijack users' devices for commercial gain. One likely reason Burger King chose to target Google Home rather than iPhones is that unlike Apple's Siri, the virtual assistant cannot be trained to recognize a particular user's voice, which highlights one of the main issues with connected smart speakers currently on the market.

    As it stands, Google Home can only be used with a single Google account at a time, and lacks the ability to differentiate users by their voice patterns. Google has said its ultimate goal for Home is to be able to identify different people in the same room - and hints of multi-user functionality have briefly appeared in the Google Home app - suggesting some sort of voice identification feature is likely coming.

    Likewise, Amazon is known to be working on a similar system that would allow its Echo range of smart speakers to distinguish between individual users based on the sound of their voices. According to sources, Amazon's feature would work by matching the person speaking to a pre-recorded voice sample, or "voice print", to verify the speaker's identity. Currently, Echo users can set up multiple profiles and jump between them, but the user must say "switch accounts" or use the Alexa app to do so.

    Last May it was rumored that Apple will launch an Echo-like speaker with Siri integration, enabling users to play music, get news headlines, and more, without needing to interact with their iPhone.

    According to one source, Apple's speaker could process many typical iPhone Siri commands. For example, users may be able to ask the device to read e-mails, send text messages and tweets, and stream content from Apple Music. Apple is even said to have considered integrating map information into the speaker, allowing the device to notify a user when it's time to leave the house for an appointment.

    However, all of these capabilities would require Siri to know exactly who it is interacting with - a feat which, in a communal setting, could pose significant technical challenges for a company high on privacy. In this sense, the appearance of an Apple smart speaker may ride on Apple's ability to make user voice recognition as secure as biometric authentication features like Touch ID.

    On the other hand, Apple could bring in biometric features to augment the speaker's user identification system. Indeed, some of Apple's speaker prototypes in testing are said to include technology related to facial recognition, potentially aided by Apple's acquisition of Faceshift and Emotient, which may help the device act based on who is in a room or a person's emotional state. How secure such systems would be in these scenarios remains unclear, however. According to rumors, Apple's smart speaker-esque device could release later this year.

    Article Link: Burger King TV Ad Highlights Voice Recognition Challenge For Smart Speakers
  2. LordCoe13 macrumors regular


    Sep 9, 2014
    Chicago, IL
    Pretty creative move. Too bad Google already stopped it.
  3. mwcfc1905 macrumors regular

    Oct 8, 2011
    When google get a request asking about the whooper it should respond with information about the big mac!
    that would help stop this
  4. fitshaced macrumors 68000


    Jul 2, 2011
    Ok Google, set an alarm for 3am, play some Milli Vanilli, delete all appointments, book an uber for 5 minutes time .....

    Might have some fun on the train tomorrow
  5. Centris 650 macrumors 6502a

    Centris 650

    Dec 26, 2002
    Near Charleston, SC
    The first company to do this is labeled a genius, the second company to do this will be labeled a pariah.
  6. adamneer macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2013
    Chicago, IL
    Nice. Because 1 obnoxious form of advertising at a time isn't enough for corporations anymore, so they naturally come up with ways to use their ads to prompt other ads. Soon enough, modern life will simply be an Inception of advertising. We'll need to spin a top to figure out whether or not someone's trying to sell us something.
  7. Avieshek Suspended


    Dec 7, 2013
  8. Abazigal macrumors G4


    Jul 18, 2011
    So the voice actor for the ad can no longer use the "Okay google" hotword on his google devices?
  9. M.PaulCezanne macrumors 6502a


    Mar 5, 2014
    As if we needed another reason to be disgusted by Burger King.
  10. RightMACatU macrumors 65816


    Jul 12, 2012
    Love it!
    "OK Google, order 50 of 'em bad boys from location x for pick-up" :p
  11. Billberryjuice macrumors 6502


    Jun 2, 2014
    I am irked by this but also quite want a burger now so touché BK I guess
  12. chr1s60 macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2007
    Good job, BK. For those that didn't already know, this brought to light the fact that you can instantly get your friend, coworker, or random stranger's phone to activate Google assistant.
  13. Baumi macrumors regular

    Mar 31, 2005
    From what I've read, it seems they blocked the specific sound clip on the server side. The OK Google trigger still fires, but no reply is returned. Depending on how focused their filters are, the voice actor should either not notice anything, or at worst he would be unable to ask Google Home for the composition of the Whopper burger.
  14. Abazigal macrumors G4


    Jul 18, 2011
    So normal queries should still work. Seems fair enough.
  15. Aston441 macrumors 65816

    Sep 16, 2014
    I LIKE that my friends can use my Echos, so they can switch around the lighting, music etc.

    I'm the only one that knows the code to initiate the self-destruct sequence, so I'm not seeing the security issue here?

  16. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    Ha. Neat Trek clip.

    Thank goodness real life voice interactions don't have that faux teletype computing sound! It would drive me crazy :eek:
  17. MRU Suspended


    Aug 23, 2005
    Doesn't work with my Google Pixel. It doesn't even seem to recognise the guy is saying 'ok google' .....
  18. Aston441 macrumors 65816

    Sep 16, 2014
    There's a place for folks like you called Slashdot.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 13, 2017 ---
    I think it would be amazing if the iPhone in my hand was full of solenoids throwing relay switches all the time - with a beautiful blue glowing vacuum tube sticking out the top!!!!!
  19. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    How would it recognise their voice?

  20. Ballis macrumors 6502a

    May 27, 2008
    Oslo, Norway
    I love it!
    So much actually, Ill have BK today.
  21. Mike Oxard macrumors 6502a

    Mike Oxard

    Oct 22, 2009
    Wow, Siri still isn't as fast as that!
  22. EdT macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2007
    Omaha, NE
    I'm sure a lot of people would be unhappy with this solution, but allow multiple logins to use Siri, with one being a master. If a command to Siri comes from someone not logged in and recognized then it's ignored, even if the request is understood. The accuracy of Siri would need to increase and a security safe means of voice recognition would need to improve, but by having both identity voice recognition and the requirement that a person is signed into that device would make it more secure than any current system.
  23. nwcs macrumors 68000


    Sep 21, 2009
    Yet one more validation for why I don't watch Live TV. :)
  24. NT1440 macrumors G5


    May 18, 2008
    So once the MEMS piezoelectric microphones become common in these devices, allowing for beam forming and tuning to an actual individual this won't be a problem. The question is why are these companies releasing this kind of crap before the user experience can't be ruined by this kind of commercial (or frankly, ******* friends) trolling?
  25. Mad Mac Maniac macrumors 601

    Mad Mac Maniac

    Oct 4, 2007
    A little bit of here and a little bit of there.
    Yeah let us encourage the biggest data source in the world to begin giving incorrect information when given a query. Hello big brother

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