reihanfeoru: Koboldrone (Default)
[personal profile] reihanfeoru

(Disclaimer: I'm not a fan of Wikipedia, nor will I ever be one. My opinion is that their policies allow for the production of garbage articles that get far too much attention in search queries. That said...)

Okay, so Burger King almost introduced a new advert made to trigger Google Home devices, but was thankfully stopped by both Google and Wikipedia in doing so due to just what they did. But... there's another side to this one that I'd like to bring up. One that only a few people have thought of.

Now, to give a short rundown of what happened: Burger King was going to deploy a new advert which included the following line: "Okay, Google. What is the Whopper burger?" They also edited the "first line" of the Whopper Wikipedia article to give a description of the product that sounded slightly like an ad copy. This would cause any Google Home device to read that first line from Wikipedia. However, Google blocked the search term from working on those devices, and Wikipedia reverted the edits.

Honestly, I think Google and Wikipedia did the right thing...even though it kinda comes at a cost.

See, there's something about this that kinda got me thinking about voice assistants like Google Home, Amazon Echo, Cortana, and Siri that use information from locations like Wikipedia. If you're asking what something is, and it's only giving you the first line or so from the article, wouldn't it be better for a description of the product or item to be in that first line? I mean, if you actually needed to search for something like this, which would be more informative from a voice assistant?

"The Whopper is a burger, consisting of a flame-grilled patty made with 100 percent beef with no preservatives or fillers, topped with sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, pickles, ketchup, and mayonnaise, served on a sesame-seed bun."


“The Whopper sandwich is the signature hamburger product sold by the international fast-food restaurant chain Burger King and its Australian franchise Hungry Jack's.”

In my opinion, the former (sans the advert crap that I struck out) would be far more helpful than the line that's currently in the beginning of the article. It's also very factual. I mean, I know Wikipedia cares only about whether something can be verified--factual or not--but it makes the service more useful outside of the usual "not really an encyclopedia, only plays one on TV" vibe that it normally gives off.

Someone else pointed this out (I can't link because the comment has been removed), but in some ways, it even slightly discredits Wikipedia, and does a disservice to its users. Editing the ad copy flair out would have been more than acceptable in any other circumstance, but instead, they reverted to the relatively useless information on principal.

I still commend them for not allowing Burger King to get free advertising through manipulation of their service, but at the same time, I think it could have been handled better. Just something to think about.


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