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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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The Gooligan Android malware has infected more than 1 million devices since August

The battle against Android malware is ongoing, but it's a big world and Android is everywhere. It presents a tempting target for criminals, and the Gooligan malware is just the latest attempt to make a buck off the trusting nature of smartphone users. This attack has compromised more than a million phones in the last few months, and as many as 13,000 new infections are occurring each day. The goal is not to steal your data (although that can still happen), but to make you download apps in an advertising fraud scheme.

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Google embarks on a massive Chromecast ad campaign

As this is an Android enthusiast website, I would expect most readers probably have or at least know about the Google Chromecast. The little streaming stick has found its way into millions of homes, but now Google has started on a massive advertising campaign for the device, following on from the even bigger 'Phone by Google' Pixel ad campaign.

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Google acquires 'influencer marketing' company FameBit

Getting up and running with an audience on YouTube isn't an easy thing to do, especially if you're trying to make a living off of it. Despite the breakout success of the "YouTuber" culture and some notable successes, creating a reliable base of viewers is hard work, to say nothing of getting paid. Google is trying to make that easier, according to the latest post on the official YouTube blog. The company has acquired FameBit, a tool for connecting content creators with sponsors and promoters, to help reach this goal.

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Google pushing Pixel pre-orders with popup on Google homepage

Google really, really wants you to pre-order a pixel, or at least to be aware that it exists. If you head to the Google homepage, you very well may see a popup encouraging you to pre-order the Pixel. Forget for a minute that most variants of the Pixel are sold out—Google is getting as much attention as possible for this phone.

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Report: Verizon offered to pre-install bloatware apps for $1-2 per phone

It's 2016. Android is pretty great. We have access to software and hardware that were just pipe dreams a few years ago, and the mild whining that we as a community like to engage in is just that: mild. But bloated, unnecessary software from manufacturers and carriers, which restricts customer choice, adds to update delays, and sometimes even opens up vulnerabilities, remains a thorn in the side of the platform as a whole. How often have we seen otherwise interesting hardware brought down because someone thought it would be a good idea to pay for unverified mobile games with sandwiches?

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The first Galaxy Note7 TV spot features Christoph Waltz, Christoph Waltz, Christoph Waltz, and Christoph Waltz

There's nothing that Samsung loves more than putting celebrities in its commercials. It's hardly alone in that regard, but some of the recent entries seem to be more about the celebrities than the actual phones. Case in point: the first TV commercial for the Galaxy Note 7 after the initial announcement press blitz. It features Christoph Waltz, Hollywood's current go-to somewhat creepy German-speaking dude, mildly berating Americans so they'll buy the phone.

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Samsung Video Billboard Turns A Moscow Office Building Into A 260-Foot Galaxy S7 Edge

These days advertising seems to be looking for an edge, a unique and original approach that will engage potential customers and hold their attention better than the bombastic and simple ads of days gone by. And then again, sometimes it doesn't... sometimes subtelty goes out the window, right before you apply a sign the size of a 25-story building to the other side of it. Such is the case with a Samsung advertisement in the Sokol district of Moscow, which uses a 262-foot tall building as a backdrop for the world's largest Galaxy S7 Edge.

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Chrome Safe Browsing Now Warns Against Fake 'Download' Buttons And Other Deceptive Ads

You know those fake "download" buttons you see when you're searching for old Super NES ROMs completely legitimate open-source software? The kind that advertising networks sometimes spit out even on otherwise above-board sites? Yeah, they're awful, and they often link directly to copycat or malicious files. Google hates them as much as you do, and is taking steps to make them less effective. Starting today, Chrome browsers on all platforms will warn visitors to sites with potentially misleading or fake "download" ads.

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LG Hires Jason Statham To Sell The G5 And (Presumably) Punch Samsung Phones To Death In New Commercials

You've heard of Jason Statham, right? That generically rugged-looking guy who shows up in about 50% of the action B-movies in any given summer to sound British and punch people in the face? Well apparently the rugged-punching-British demographic is one that LG would like to win, because they've hired him to promote the G5 in an upcoming series of commercials. They said so in a press release. Yes, a press release for a commercial. Welcome to the 2016 mobile market.

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