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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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Google had to disable 900,000 ads in 2016 for spreading malware, and that's just the tip of the bad ad iceberg

Spend any amount of time on the internet (without an ad-blocker) and you'll run across at least a few Google AdSense ads. They're everywhere—including on AP. Being such a huge ad platform, it's also utilized by scammers, malware creators, and other internet ne'er-do-wells. Google has a new blog post up detailing what it did in 2016 to limit the use of AdSense for scams and illegal activity. The most relevant statistic for us is 900,000 ads disabled for spreading malware. That's a lot of malware.

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[Update: Started on January 10] Google will start ranking pages with intrusive ads lower on search results

Trying to browse the internet quickly, even on the fastest smartphones, has become much harder in recent years. Advertisements take up valuable screen real estate, and can cause your phone's browser to slow to a crawl. Even worse, some sites *coughWikiacough* have taken to using full-screen advertisements and other popups.

As Jean-Luc Picard once said, "The line must be drawn here! This far, no further!" Google has taken the offensive in the battle against intrusive mobile ads, using their influence as the most popular search engine as leverage.

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Opera Max now offers 'VIP Mode' with unlimited VPN use in exchange for charging screen ads

Opera Max made some changes a while back that we weren't super-pleased about, but now it's trying to make amends. Sort of. Opera Max is a free VPN that you're paying for by seeing ads every time you open it to re-enable the VPN. You have to do that every 12 hours, but you can leave it on all the time with the new VIP Mode. However, it shows you lock screen ads when your device is charging.

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Google Contributor is being discontinued in favor of a newer iteration due in early 2017

Google Contributor was a very interesting proposition for those of us in the web publishing industry. It allowed sites like Android Police to offer readers an option to pay a little bit of money per month to remove some ads and thus have a better experience reading us while also helping us stay in business. It was launched in August of 2015 and has thus far stayed limited to users in the US. Today though, Contributor is being discontinued.

Users are receiving an email that explains that there's a new and improved version of Contributor that will launch "early next year" and that, in the meantime, the current Contributor will be discontinued.

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