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Advertisers squeeze Google over ads running ahead of extremist YouTube content

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Google is scrambling to find a solution to a problem that could end up costing it millions in revenue. The issue? Big companies are pulling their ads from YouTube after reports that some of their marketing efforts were running ahead of videos espousing extremism and hate. A growing list of companies has joined AT&T, Verizon, Johnson & Johnson, and even the British government in hitting pause on YouTube ads.

AT&T, which spends a billion dollars a year alone on marketing, said in a statement Wednesday that “until Google can ensure this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms,” which, of course, includes YouTube. Google has made changes to ad placement policies and introduced new tools to avoid running squeaky-clean ads ahead of content uploaded by haters, but even they say that, so far, the system is not perfect.

And basically, advertisers are saying that until it IS perfect, they’re gonna hold back on YouTube placements, which means less cash for Google, but, for viewers, it also means fewer commercial breaks. So there’s that.

Scary names, scarier purposes

Users of Apple’s Mac computers and iPhones may have to take a few deep breaths after a data dump from Wikileaks indicates the CIA had snooping tools for both all the way back in 2008.

Forbes says the fresh load of documents, known as the Dark Matter release, shows the CIA developed a spy tool called “NightSkies” that lived at root and kernel levels in Apple’s Mac and iPhones. NightSkies reportedly would allow the CIA to completely control the devices, and that it would “beacon” on occasion to let operatives know it was functioning and ready for use.

Another tool the agency developed was something called the “Sonic Screwdriver,” a bit of snoopware that ran on the firmware in a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter and could also infect a Mac with malware. Wikileaks says they are working with tech companies to blunt the effects of the spy tech revealed in its latest cache of secrets, but some tech companies say the demands Wikileaks is making are not reasonable.

For what it’s worth, it appears the CIA would have to have physical access to your Mac or iPhone to install the NightSkies spyware, limiting the installation base. Still, you may want to wipe and reinstall just to be sure.

So simple, yet still so addictive

Ah, Pong, great-great-grandpappy of today’s video game empire. Yeah, we don’t really remember it either, but now a team that does has put an “in-real-life” spin on the classic game.

That’s right, they’ve made a “physical” version of pong, called the Table Pong Project, and no, they didn’t reinvent ping-pong to do it. The physical game, which they are still working on but should look and work like this when it comes out, is the same as the video version (it uses magnets), with a few twists. It’s table-style, rather than a stand-up machine like the original, and when you’re not ponging, it works as, well, a normal coffee table…with a cool clock, LED lights and graphics.

During gametime, you can charge your phone up and listen to music through built-in speakers via Bluetooth. Pretty clever. Even Pong creator Allan Alcorn gave his approval. The project is on Kickstarter right now and you’ll need to pony up $1,100 to get an early bird release. Hit this link for more info on getting your Pong on.