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Android 8.1 feature spotlight: Covering the proximity sensor no longer turns off Ambient Display

The latest Android developer preview is filled with lots of incremental changes, many of which are thoughtful and useful. It wouldn’t be possible for Google to get everything right in a beta release, though, and this alteration seems to be more of a backward step.

Previously in Oreo, if you’d set Ambient Display to wake with a notification or with a double tap, it would shut off if the proximity sensor was covered. This was useful for conserving battery as it would turn the screen off as soon as you put it in a pocket or a bag. It was also good if you’d already seen whatever it was notifying you about, as you could simply wave your hand over the sensor to sleep the screen.

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Samsung fires shots at Google with new 'Screen Reviews' commercial

It's not often we see tech companies throw shade at each other, at least outside of the usual cell network advertisements. The Pixel 2 XL has been receiving some negative publicity lately regarding its display issues, and Samsung has taken up the opportunity to subtly make fun of it in a new commercial.

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Sprint mocks Verizon's prices with hilarious 'Twice the Price' ad campaign

With most commercials in the US, companies compare their products to "the leading brand" or "competing product." But not so in the telecom industry. Carriers often go after their competitors with satirical ads and CEO rants, calling out each other on their claims and figures. Sprint is no stranger to this behavior, and has started a series of ads directly targeting Verizon.

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LOL: Play Services is getting ads in the Play Store with random taglines, including "Be your own Boss, Dreams"

If you've ever set up an Android phone, chances are that you've seen notifications or prompts that say something along the lines of "Xxx app will not run without updating Google Play services." That's because Play services is the backbone of many Google services. But did you know that Play services also serves as a motivator, or that it simultaneously fits into many unrelated app categories?

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Google's new Home commercial is like O-M-G totally, dude

Google has made some pretty great commercials in the past, like the first Pixel ad and the Google Gnome April Fool's joke. The company has created a series of ads for the Google Home, mostly to highlight the Home's temporary price drop, and one of them is... not good.

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[No Words] Motorola's new commercial is all kinds of bizarre and confusing

I could write a long post mocking this new Moto commercial or explaining everything that's weird and inappropriate about it. I could lament the poor sense of humor, the slightly offensive misuse of the accent, the horrendous stylistic execution, the failed avant-gardiste vibe, or, and I'm just spitballing here, the lack of a clear story and the super confusing message at the end. But instead, I will just leave this here:

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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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[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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Samsung's powerful Oscars ad features Casey Neistat and a bunch of other YouTubers

Samsung is nowhere near inexperienced in the marketing/advertising area, and neither is filmmaker and ex-vlogger Casey Neistat. For around a year now, the two have been working together to make the South Korean brand seem more appealing to younger folks, and this Oscars ad is a culmination of all that.

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Google makes a witty and endearing Google Photos ad for the Oscars

The world is all eyes and ears today for one of the most important events that take place each year. Oh, you think I'm talking about MWC in Barcelona? Ha, neeeeerd! No, I'm talking about the 89th Academy Awards ceremony which celebrates the best in film for the past year. But for Google, the real award belongs to you and your shots and creations.

El Goog has started its Oscars campaign with a couple of tweets (1 and 2) saying that regardless of who's the big winner in the ceremony, the award for Best Picture belongs to you. That was followed up with a 1-minute video ad for Google Photos already posted on YouTube and likely to be aired during the ceremony tonight, but maybe only in its shorter version.

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