As you're hopefully well aware, pretty much everything you do online is tracked. Information about your activity is sold to advertisers, who then serve you ads based on a profile of you built up based on your habits. It's what keeps many services, like Google's, free. Now, Google has updated its Ad Settings to provide enhanced transparency about the whole process. Read More
After the 2016 US election, social media services have felt increasing pressure to improve the integrity and quality of information its users discover in their ecosystems. This week, Twitter announced US election labels, which essentially act as enhanced verified badges specially made for candidates running in this year's US midterm general election. The company also announced its "Political Campaigning Policy" to make it easier for users to understand exactly who is backing political ads. These are two steps Twitter is taking to make good on its vow to protect its users from misinformation and bad actors abusing its platform. Read More
It's clear Google is trying to push the Assistant more than ever in 2018, particularly in the face of stiff competition from Amazon's Alexa. Google's presence at CES was entirely Assistant-themed and with many Chromebooks and other smart home devices getting support for the Assistant this year, it's going to be on hand pretty much everywhere.
Google's latest TV commercial, aired during the 2018 Oscars, is an ode to laziness. With the help of celebrities like John Legend, Kevin Durant, and Sia, the ad reminds us of things the Assistant can take care of to make our lives easier. The slogan for each example is "Make Google do it." Read More
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. Read More
As you may be aware, Google has been having problems managing YouTube lately, especially when it comes to advertising. The famous 'Adpocalypse' taking a toll on many creators' incomes has been a prevalent topic, but Google has been seemingly oblivious to another major problem - disturbing videos specifically targeting children.
These videos take on many forms, but they usually involve characters children are familiar with, so the videos will appear in searches from kids. Some of them are live-action videos of people dressed up as these characters (Spider-man, Elsa from Disney's Frozen, etc), some show kids unwrapping 'Kinder eggs' with toys inside, and others are just re-uploads of TV shows. Read More
Last month, we heard rumors that Google was planning to relax its ban on real-money gambling apps in the Play Store, but after reaching out to Google we didn't get a response either way. With an update to its developer policy page, Google has now confirmed that some of these apps are going to be allowed on the Play Store in the UK, Ireland, and France. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More