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Happy Friday! Here’s a roundup of this week’s industry news:
Last week, Apple announced that ad blockers would begin working on iPhones, leading online advertisers to panic. The announcement seemed like an admission that ad blockers were changing the game in online advertising, but the most popular ad blockers (such as Adblock Plus), still allow ads online if the company displaying ads is willing to split profits with the ad blocker. To some in the ad industry, these business practices are nothing more than extortion, but companies like Google, Amazon and Microsoft have all paid large fees to work with ad blockers. However, some industry experts predict that ad blockers are just part of a transition period as online advertising moves toward native advertising and content advertising instead.
Wednesday, Google announced a pilot program that allows users to pay at certain cashiers in San Francisco while essentially doing nothing. The program is called “Hands Free” and is a way to connect your phone with a point of sale system. Users walk up to a cashier, which can detect that the phone is in the area and gives the point of sale system the ability to charge the user’s card that’s tied to Hands Free. The user tells the cashier that they will “pay with Google,” and give their initials to the cashier, who then inputs that and the transaction is closed. Cashiers also have a way to detect what the person looks like and whether it’s the same person in the photo tied to a Google profile. The overall goal is to reduce friction in the payment process, and is another foray by Google into the world of payment via phone.
There’s a New Way to Hack Drones in Mid Flight - The Verge
In a report issued by an IBM security researcher, researchers have found a new way to hack police drones. The attack blocks out communications between a drone and its controller, and affects a specific model of drone used by police. As drones grow more popular, so do tools used to take them down, sometimes for public safety reasons. Tools already exist to disrupt drones that fly too close to airports or prisons, but the use of such tools exists in a grey legal area. This is the first exploit that directly affects police drone use.
In the world of programmatic ad buying, one company is trying to give buyers insight into where their ad dollars are actually going. Pathmatics offers data from across the industry to ensure that brands are getting the coverage they are looking for, and not just buying ads on sites that aren’t their audience. The larger idea behind Pathmatics is to promote accountability from ad delivery platforms, and make sure companies are spending money correctly and getting what they pay for.
Germany’s Federal Cartel Office is investigating whether Facebook abuses its social network dominance to harvest personal information, and the probe is just the latest in a series of European investigations into American technology companies. The probe is also sparked by fear of American monopolies on consumer information, and the ramifications that has for the digital ad market. The probe raises further questions about consumer data and digital advertising, and may set legal precedents in Europe.
Did you read any interesting tech news this week? Tweet us @WalkerSands!