Google Home vs Amazon Echo
Google's TV commercial for Google Home that aired during the Super Bowl caused many users' devices to wake up in confusion Google and Amazon

Be careful what you say near a voice-activated device, it just might turn on. Last night during the Super Bowl 2017, Google's heartwarming family-friendly TV commercial set off the Google Home device for many users.

Google's Google Home advertisement was not created specially for Super Bowl 2017 – it is an advert that has already been on air and aims to introduce users to the product by giving multiple examples. To use the personal assistant, users have to say: "Ok, Google", and then ask the voice-activated device either a factual question or to control equipment in the house, such as turning on smart lights or turning up the music on a smart stereo or home entertainment system.

The device obeys commands instantly, and triggered with factual questions, accesses the internet, searches for the answer and then responds verbally with the answer.

During the advert, the phrase: "Ok, Google", is uttered a total of six times by several different actors, and according to Twitter and The Verge's Kwame Opam, actual Google Home devices decided to wake up and respond when the TV commercial played during the Super Bowl ad breaks.

The Google Home commercial turned on my Google Home. She's the only person in my house who listens to me.

— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) February 5, 2017

That @Google home trailer made my google home have a meltdown.

— Jared Feldman (@jfeldman452) February 5, 2017

Google Home commercial kept setting mine off! They need to chill it with the "okay Google"-ing.

— Bill (@BillRadjewski) February 5, 2017

This is not the first time that a TV commercial has set off a voice-activated personal assistant — in early January, a news anchor on CW6 in San Diego was talking about a news story involving Amazon Echo and a little girl who had used it to buy a dollhouse and some cookies.

When the anchor said, "I love the little girl, saying 'Alexa order me a dollhouse'", numerous Amazon Echo devices stationed near televisions broadcasting the news programme began asking their owners to confirm whether they would like to buy a doll house.

There have been other cases in the past where voice-activated systems have mistakenly picked up commands with hilarious results. In 2014, a TV commercial where Aaron Paul demonstrated how the Kinect worked making numerous Xbox consoles immediately turn on and launch the Titanfall video game whenever it detected Paul's voice issuing the command on a TV set.

Then there was the YouTube vlogger Master of Luck, who decided to prank people owning Xbox with Kinect by using the gamertag "Xbox Sign Out" and deliberately getting in the way of people who were trying to play Call of Duty Ghosts online.

In this game, players can chat and talk to team members and opponents using voice chat with their headsets, but if users tried to tell the user "Xbox Sign Out" to get out of their way, then the Xbox picked up the words as a command to sign out of the user's account and ended the game.