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Google resolves to stop reading your email (for advertising, anyway)

Today Google made an announcement on their blog in which they expressed a desire to "more closely align" their efforts on the consumer side of Gmail with G Suite's Gmail. It might sound humdrum, but it's a biggie. That's because Google wants to bring the two more closely together by taking a page from G Suite and no longer using the content of your emails as input for personalized advertising. This is expected to occur later this year.

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[Update: Site is live, more details] Google launches Funding Choices, a way for users to pay sites to hide ads

You may recall Google Contributor, which was a service by Google that allowed users to pay a monthly contribution to see fewer ads online. Your money would directly substitute the money earned by the site for advertisements. Contributor was discontinued in late 2016, with Google saying that an improved version would become available in "early 2017."

Today, the company launched Funding Choices, the successor to Contributor.

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Google confirms it will block bad ads in Chrome, starting in early 2018

About two months ago, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google would add an ad-blocking feature into the Chrome web browser. Similar to AdBlock Plus' default setting, Chrome would block ads deemed unacceptable (such as pop-ups, auto-playing video ads, etc). Google has now confirmed this, and shared further details about how it will work.

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WSJ: Google planning to block bad ads in Chrome on desktop and mobile

Advertising is very much a balancing act for websites these days. You want to make enough money from an ad-supported site to cover costs, but you don't want to annoy users to the point they block all your ads. Some websites don't seem to care how much they annoy you, though. Google is reportedly getting ready to take a stand against the worst ads on the web with a built-in ad-blocker for Chrome.

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The YouTube app is showing full-screen ads for YouTube Red originals

The primary selling point for YouTube Red is being able to watch videos without any ads (while still paying content creators). YouTube Red also has a few original series and movies starring major YT personalities. I guess not enough people are watching the original content, because now YouTube is pushing full-screen ads for them.

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Google's new 'Style Ideas' Image Search tool brings fashion to your phone

Google has been rolling out a series of updates to its Image Search platform on mobile devices, and the latest addition includes tools to make coordinating outfits and researching fashion a bit easier. Now with 'Style Ideas' Google will show you a series of images related to the product in use.

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Google now shows 'Similar Items' shopping links on select image searches

If you need to find an image of something, you're probably going to use Google image search. This is simply the nature of the internet right now. You might start noticing a new block of images showing up in your results going forward, though. Google has rolled out a "Similar Items" feature. These images are essentially shopping links for items that are similar to the ones in the image result.

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Peel remote app upsets users with a ton of ads and lock screen overlays

You've probably heard of the Peel Smart Remote app. It was pre-loaded on a lot of phones back when everything had an IR blaster for like two minutes. Recently, this app has made some changes that have users up in arms. It's popping up full-screen ads and deploying a lock screen overlay. The first one is not uncommon, but the second is totally uncool.

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[Update: Google responds] Google Assistant promoting Beauty and the Beast blurs the lines between advertising and news

One of Google Assistant's more notable features is giving you a summary of your day when asked - including commute time, weather, news from user-selected sources, etc. For some users, the summary now includes a mention of Disney's Beauty and the Beast film - but Google says it's not an ad.

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Facebook starts testing Sponsored ads in Messenger

Facebook Messenger is used by a lot of brands and businesses to communicate with their users, customers, or fans. According to Facebook, 1 billion messages are sent on the platform each month between businesses and users. So it only makes sense that Facebook wants to monetize that and businesses want to take advantage of it to reach more users with special offers or product ads. And that's what Facebook is starting to do.

In the coming weeks, a test group of people in Thailand and Australia will start seeing ads in their Facebook Messenger app. These will show up on the Messenger home screen below recent conversations, as is the case with birthday notifications or the list of currently active users.

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