There are some cracking news stories this week, from the sinister to the mirth-inducing.
So, if you like ad conspiracies, cyber-security, zeppelins or Gareth Bale, do not go anywhere else.
Google's new ad filter will arrive in 2018
Do you know what the world's biggest seller of advertising would quite like to do? Yep, sit inside your browser and filter out any ads it believes will fail to give you a good experience.
Okay, the unacceptable ads will be determined by the Coalition for Better Ads, which includes Facebook, News Corp and many others, but publishers are entitled to be a bit nervous about Google's Chrome ad filter reducing their advertising options.
According to the Wall Street Jounal, Google says it will introduce the filter next year, giving publishers six months to prepare. The filter is expected to be switched on by default within Chrome on desktops and laptops.
What will be deemed a bad ad? It will likely include autoplay and autosound videos, as well as oversized interstitials. Google says even its own ads may be filtered if they don't adhere to guidelines.
Paddy Power tracks down sculptor of that Ronaldo bust
On to something a little lighter. Soccer fans will remember that Ronaldo bust unveiled earlier this year at Madeira Aiport (which is named after the region's most famous son).
Well, in what has to be one of the finest bits of PR this year, Paddy Power (and its agency Ready10) has tracked down Emanuel Santos and forced him (paid him) to create another bust, this time of Gareth Bale, ahead of Real Madrid's appearance in the Champions League Final on Saturday 3 June in Cardiff.
China's tough cybersecurity laws are now in place
Companies doing digital business in China must let its government access all their data, which must also be stored on Chinese soil.
MIT Tech Review reports that 'foreign firms are worried, particularly because only about half of the law’s tenets have been clearly spelled out.' China's rationale is that such measures are appropriate precautions against cyber attacks.
Despite being blocked in China since 2009, Facebook is endeavouring to comply, clearly hoping for a future in the country.
Could facial recognition improve the airport CX?
JetBlue Airways will be testing facial-recognition systems instead of boarding passes at Logan Airport in Boston, with a possible rollout of the tech later in the year.
Passengers will be photographed at the gate instead of checking in with boarding passes, according to the Boston Globe. Images will be checked against the passengers’ passport or visa photos on file with Customs and Border Protection.
Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue’s vice president of customer experience said, “The main advantage is customer ease,” and hinted at broader applications in future.
Important zeppelin news
Sergey Brin is building a giant zeppelin. Yep.
An anonymous source tells the Guardian, “It’s going to be massive on a grand scale,” adding that the airship is likely to be nearly 200 metres long. That's not quite as big as the Hindenburg, but is still impressive enough to be the world’s largest aircraft.
Apparently the ship will be used to deliver supplies and food on humanitarian missions and as a luxurious intercontinental “air yacht” for Brin’s friends and family.
Mary Meeker, trend seeker
Mary Meeker's annual trends presentation is here. There's lots on China, India, online advertising, ecommerce, gaming, media and more.
Perhaps the major point is the fact that five tech companies – Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook – now sit as the five most valuable companies in the world and the competition between them is intense. Further down the top 10 sit Alibaba and Tencent.
Bike sharing eating into ride sharing in China
Big Data Research predicts that bicycle-sharing users in China will more than double to 50m by the end of this year, having been at only 18m in 2016.
The rise of bike sharing is documented in a fascinating article from the South China Morning Post which says that around 40 smartphone apps for the purpose have appeared in Chinese cities since late 2016. This comes only a year after Didi bought out Uber's Chinese operation.
The Chinese are hiring bikes for last-mile transportation (e.g. to and from subway stations) and can leave them anywhere, paying as little as 1 yuan per hour. The article says journeys are also sometimes free and occasionally can result in cash prizes during promotions.
Freddie Tian tells the paper he saves 500 yuan a month (5% of his wage) after switching from Didi rides to bike sharing.
Bicycles have doubled to 11.6% of total transportation within a year, from 5.5%, according to an April report by Beijing Mobike Technology Co. and Tsinghua University.
Bing Rewards bribes users to switch search engines?
Bing is awarding points to Microsoft account users for searches they perform. These points will add up to prizes, including free movies, music or entry into a larger prize draw.
Purchases from the Microsoft Store will also amass points in the Bing Rewards scheme. One search equals five points, but is that enough to make you ditch Google? Thought not.
Deloitte buys design consultancy
Deloitte has acquired Market Gravity and beefed up its creative credentials. The company will join Deloitte Digital but keep its name.
The two companies have worked together on various projects over the last three years.
Is Labour winning the online ad battle?
The FT asks the question whether Labour's inferior ad budget is proving great value, given the suprising success of Captain Ska's Liar Liar song, which has been downloaded 30,000 times, streamed more than 100,000 times, and racked up 1m YouTube views, and cost only £100 to produce.
Another video created by Momentum, telling the stories of a banker and a nurse, was shared 2.2m times on Facebook in just 24 hours.
Sam Jeffers of Who Targets Me comments that a third of all political advertising in the UK comes from the Tories, with a lot of it being negative. “Until now the ads we have seen from the Conservatives have been almost 100% anti-Corbyn. At the same time all the Theresa May ads emphasise that she’s the right person to negotiate Brexit as opposed to Corbyn.”
It's been an intriguing battle.