Like it or not, Google TV devices like the new Chromecast dedicate a large portion of the primary view to promoting new content with big, eye-catching photos of shows and movies you might want to watch. But more than just pointing us to the latest shows on the services we already subscribe to, Google has also used this space for straight-up ads, and gone so far as to feature theatrical films that weren't yet available for streaming. Now the ads have somehow found a way to start getting even worse.
Google TV viewers on Reddit have spotted Google beginning to show ads for physical products on the For You tab (via 9to5Google). One reported by a Chromecast with Google TV user in India features an iPhone promotion from a brick-and-mortar Apple reseller. Another user in Canada got a Tim Hortons ad on their Chromecast, while a third saw Chrysler ads on their Sony TV.
Google TV has started advertising physical products
That Sony set featured Google TV branding, and helps establish that these new ads aren't limited to Google's own hardware. So far we haven't spotted any specific reports of such promotions on older Android TV devices, but considering how we've seen the Google TV interface spread, we wouldn't put it past Google getting these ads onto as many screens as possible.
If none of this ad-expansion sounds any good to you, take heart by remembering that this is still super-customizable Android we're dealing with, and you've always got the option to install an alternate launcher on your Android TV/Google TV device — even if it does require some setup.
All things considered, the Chromecast with Google TV still ranks among the best streaming devices in 2023 — but after this latest development, some users might be giving this one a second thought.