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InBrief
28

Google will start showing video ads on the Play Store

17

Lockscreen ad-disabling APK for Amazon Prime Exclusive phones is available now

Amazon announced earlier this week that lockscreen ads won't be present on newly-purchased Prime Exclusive devices and an update is rolling out to the Amazon Offers app to disable them on existing handsets. If you don't want to wait, you can sideload that update right now.

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43

[Update: $20 price increase] Amazon is removing lock screen ads from Prime Exclusive phones

Amazon started selling devices with "Special Offers" years back with the e-ink Kindle, but that option came to Android with the "Prime Exclusive" phones. In exchange for a discounted smartphone, you got to see ads on your lock screen whenever you picked up the phone. It was annoying, sure, but many people were happy to take Amazon up on the offer. Now, Prime Exclusive phones are getting much more compelling with news that Amazon is removing the lock screen ads.

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8

Chrome's blocker for redirecting ads won't be turned on until April

If you frequently use your phone or tablet to browse the web, you've probably noticed how some websites randomly redirect you to a fake virus warning or other similar page. This is due to malicious ads breaking out of their frame, and forcing a redirect of the parent page to wherever they want. These harmful ads have infiltrated virtually every ad network, including Google AdSense/AdX.

Google's solution to this problem is a blocker for redirecting ads, which was announced in November of last year (this is separate from the general ad blocker that will arrive later this month). If an ad tried to hijack the parent page, Chrome would block it and tell the user what page it was trying to get to.

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37

Bizarre OnePlus ads show implausibly odd series of smartphone tests

I've been told that smartphone enthusiasts are often a bit prickly about their preferences, though OnePlus is taking things to a bizarre new extreme with their latest campaign. Apparently titled "The OnePlus 5T Smart Tests," the first in the series features two men in underwear—one holding a OnePlus 5T, the other holding a Samsung Galaxy S8—having bits of cactus thrown at them, only able to leave after they open 20 "everyday apps." Truly, this takes advertising to a bizarre and unwarranted new level, and you should trust me on this because I live in Japan.

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34

Amazon doesn't want ads on Alexa

It's fairly simple to create unobtrusive advertising on computers, phones, tablets, and other devices with a screen - users can simply ignore the ads. However, that doesn't translate to smart speakers, since the only interface is speaking. There's no unobtrusive way to stop in the middle of a sentence and start talking about a sale.

Thankfully, at least for the moment, Amazon agrees that ads have no place on smart speakers. According to a report from The Information, Sony approached Amazon several times about running ads on its Jeopardy Alexa game. The company refused each time, explaining that advertising could alienate users.

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5

Google adds more personalization options to its Ads Settings tool

Back in 2016, Google introduced a new tool which allowed users to further personalize the ads they saw online. It was a win-win, Google got to increase the effectiveness of its advertising, and you got to ensure (within limits) that they were a bit more useful. Apparently, this change was worth it, as Google is doubling down by introducing even more new settings options for advertisements, like disabling "reminder" ads and synchronizing "Mute This Ad" settings across devices.

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70

Google raises the bar for monetizing videos on YouTube [Update]

It's no easy feat to keep YouTube respectable enough for big advertisers when it relies entirely on user-created content from legions of video makers. Advertisers have complained to Google with increasing regularity when their ads show up alongside content that's inappropriate or just plain creepy. Google's solution is a change to the YouTube Partners Program (YPP) that will make it harder for small channels to monetize videos.

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43

YouTube v13.01 continues development on dark mode, may enable swipe-to-skip ads, and relocates autoplay setting [APK Teardown]

YouTube just took a big version jump from v12.49 to v13.01, but you probably won't notice a lot of changes if you're just tapping around. In fact, this update appears to be pretty average for most of YouTube's releases, which usually include a couple tweaks here and there, and sometimes some interesting material for a teardown – and this update has both. You'll find a new page in the Settings screen for autoplay options, and a teardown turns up some inspiring progress on a dark mode and possibly an adjustment to the ad-skipping experience.

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108

Google reveals how Chrome's ad-blocker will work when it goes live February 15th

Advertising is the lifeblood of Google, so the company has always had an understandably awkward relationship with ad-blocking software. Google seems to understand why people use ad-blockers, though. There are a lot of terrible ads out there, but blocking them all is bad for Google. That's why Chrome is getting an ad-blocker for "bad ads" soon, and now we know how it'll work.

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