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14
Feb

PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator (review)


pew die pie tuber

Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a ‘YouTuber’? The famous ‘tuber, PewDiePie has created a simulation game in association with Outerminds Inc., that allows you to live the life of a YouTube content creator. Start at the bottom while honing your video creation skills to see if you have what it takes to make it to the top.

Developer: Outerminds, Inc.
Price: Free (with premium content)

Along the way you’ll discover a multitude of additions that may make it easier for you to draw in new subscribers and viewers that may become addicted to your content. Can you continue to grow your audience, or will you lose out to more popular ‘tubers?

Keeping it simple

PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator is presented in a retro, isometric view that allows you to watch your avatar as he or she creates videos and increases viewership. The premise is fairly simple–start small and gain viewers by watching for trends and adding new items to your prop arsenal. As you gain viewers and subscribers you can visit the shop to add new pieces to your setup.

The overall user interface is clean and simple to understand. Moving between your main room and other areas like the shop is easy. Just click the corresponding icon at the bottom to switch from quests, user info (where you can name and link your accounts), shop, upgrades, and the standard room where you make your videos.

The simplistic graphics leave a little to be desired, but considering the audience, the overall feel and look of the game is quite fitting. This game will not tax your smartphone or tablet with flashy graphics, conversely it relies on simplicity and a classic feel that many long-time gamers will appreciate.

Taking it to the next level

Eventually you will discover that your ‘Tuber will level up and learn new tricks of the YouTube world. This progression system works quite well, although you’ll quickly discover that customization costs in-game “bux” that are difficult to acquire unless you’re willing to spend real money.

pewdiepie tuber gameSave up to make your ‘Tuber room the best it can be

After purchasing an item you must wait for it to ship, just like in the real world. This shipping time can be sped up by playing mini games that cost viewership. This system works, but is often times plagued by the over-abundance of advertising. Considering the game comes from PewDiePie, the amount of advertising is no surprise.

Want to speed up a process or circumvent the overall time required to make progress? Simple solution; watch an advertisement to skip ahead. This is the major drawback with PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator. Everything feels as if it’s a cash-grab for the developer, which draws away from the fun of the game.

Sounding off

The bells and whistles within PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator range from basic, but effective to overall fulfilling. Having Felix Kjellberg’s voice within the game is both a blessing and disadvantage. PewDiePie has an abundance of spoken word littered throughout the game that provides for decent feedback and substantial commentary. Whether or not it’s something that the player will enjoy, is completely subjective.

Nonetheless, the games chip-tune music feels fitting and complements the visual style quite well. The little blips and beeps are familiar and fit within the game world while providing decent feedback to the player’s interaction.

pewdiepiePewDiePie in all his pixelated glory

The flair (and annoyance) of PewDiePie

PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator does a great job of guiding the player through each section of the game spaces. It’s nice to see clear direction in a simulation game such as this, especially for gamers that may be new to the genre. Unfortunately, PewDiePie can be annoying to those that are not used to his over-the-top delivery style. PewDiePie’s loud and ridiculous comments are coupled with some fairly poor-to-average writing that leaves a lot to be desired. Be prepared to cringe at some of the audio comments that are littered throughout the game. In fact, you may be better off playing with the audio turned way down or skipping the comments altogether.

tuber simulator pewdiepiePewDiePie will talk to you–and he might just annoy you too

PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator does a nice job of recreating the life of a YouTuber in the virtual world. Where the game falls short is in the delivery and presentation of the overall experience. Limiting a player’s ability to progress through the game by charging for the experience is a quick way to turn off almost any casual player. Instead, it would have been wise to allow the player to play through the majority of the game without hidden costs while promoting PewDiePie’s brand. This shortcoming has severely hindered the overall enjoyment of the game and will most likely turn away gamers that just want to have fun experimenting in the world of a YouTuber.

PewDiePie himself can be quite divisive in nature as evident by his recent trouble, but in the end, PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator is the best game for experiencing what it takes to make it in the life of a ‘Tuber. It’s fun at times and frustrating in others, but if you can get by the obnoxious commenting and general pay-to-progress limitations you may find that this game offers a nice insight into the simulated world of a successful YouTube personality.

pewdiepie tuber simulatorCheck out PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator on Google Play

 

 

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14
Feb

Netflix VR – Ultimate Viewing for One (App Review)


Netflix has become a hugely successful movie and TV watching platform, so when I heard they were coming out with a VR app, I was pretty intrigued, to say the least. I had no idea what they were going to do with it besides just watch your shows on a headset. And yes, at its core this is you just sitting there watching your show on a headset, but Netflix decided to up the ante and immersion just enough to make the VR app stand out. Let’s take a closer look.

Developer: Netflix
Price: Free (Netflix subscription required)
Download: Google Play, Oculus Store (for Samsung Gear VR)

Details. Details everywhere.It’s the incredible amount of details in the room that draw you into a completely wonderful experience.

Overview

Once you log in with your Netflix credentials, you are transported to your own private log cabin up in the snowy mountains. You’ll find yourself sitting on a beautiful red leather couch surrounded by giant posters of popular Netflix shows hanging on the wall. In front of you is a large screen TV framed by some great stonework. There are little details all around the room that add to the immersion, such as a coffee table in front of you with a few magazines spread out on it, a remote control on the couch next to you, a large chandelier above you, snow covered trees outside, and some vases on a table behind you.

You scroll through shows and movies simply by looking at the screen and tapping what you want to play. It’s super intuitive and easy to use. Once your show starts the lights dim, and the light from the TV dances around the room, reflecting gently off the objects around the room much as you would see if you were actually watching TV in the dark in a non-virtual room. I find the whole scene to be super cozy, which is what I’m sure they were going for, but if you are unimpressed or just want a straightforward approach, there is a “Void Theater” mode accessible by looking straight up and clicking on the link above you that will take you to a black environment with just the Netflix interface and your show. It’s efficient, and I’m sure there are quite a few that appreciate the simplicity of this or who may need it for a lower end device, but I found the charm of the whole cabin scene to be a fantastic part of the experience.

Cozy doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Watching Your Shows

I decided to really give this app a spin while my wife was out of town for the night. She’s not a huge Bob’s Burgers fan, and I had only seen 3 or 4 episodes before, so when I fired up the VR and saw it on my “Watch It Again” list, I loaded it up and watched for about an hour and a half. As this was my first time really sitting down to watch something in VR, I was amazed at the image quality as I watched. Everything seemed really crisp and high quality. There were a few moments where I would reach over for the remote to find that, alas, I am in VR and had to adjust the volume with the device strapped to my face. It was at this point of losing myself that I had to both chuckle, and admit that the whole experience is super sophisticated and perfectly achieves what it’s going for, as I was so immersed in my virtual world that for a moment I forgot that I wasn’t actually there for a minute.

I just want to live here.

A Word of Caution

This is a warning that comes with most VR setups, but you will want to take frequent breaks while watching shows. After watching for about an hour and a half, I took the headset off to find that my eyes felt some light strain, and focusing on far distances made my eyes feel off, since when you focus on distance objects in VR, you are really just focusing on things that are the same distance away as everything else. I know that Samsung’s Gear VR recommends breaks every half hour, and that advice is something I strongly urge you to follow. If you are planning on sitting down to watch a movie or something for an extended period of time, you are probably better off watching it on a regular screen rather than in the VR app. If you do want to watch it in VR, I highly suggest breaking up viewing into multiple segments. There have not been long-term studies done on the effects of VR on the eyes, so better safe than marathoning Orange is the New Black and suffering from eye damage.

Conclusion

I was more than pleasantly surprised to discover how Netflix had taken their offerings and made the jump to the virtual landscape. The cozy cabin they put you in draws you in with an incredible attention to detail, and everything you watch is beautifully displayed on a huge “screen” in front of you. It even caters to the crowd who wants no frills, just a basic viewing experience. While extended viewing sessions are not recommended, if you are looking to watch an episode or so of your favorite show, there are worse ways to do it than to curl up on this virtual couch and be transported to the house that Netflix built.

14
Feb

The Deer God: Bugs impede this game from reaching heaven (review)


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be an animal? Having to endure the animal food chain? Hunters coming for your precious flesh? Not encountering food in order to survive? The Deer God, by Crescent Moon Games, tries to put you in the body of a deer, and it is your job to survive through the perils and dangers of this beautiful species. Spoiler: it is harder than I thought, but not all of the difficulty comes from the risks themselves.

Developer: Crescent Moon Games
Price: Free

Setup

When launching this game for the first time, it asks for the Storage permission. It can be assumed that it is used in order to write the save file to your device. After this, a quite interesting story begins. You are a deer hunter, and, while, killing a deer, your body gets possessed by the Deer God, which transforms you into a deer and throws you into the wild as a punishment.

From then on, the game explains its very simple controls. To move, you place your finger in the left region of the screen and from then slide right or left. There are two buttons on the right: one for jumping (pressing it twice performs a double jump), and another one for attacking. To interact with other characters. That’s it, now you know how to play The Deer God.

Overview

Controls for this game are really simple but solid.Controls for this game are really simple but solid.

As previously said, you control a deer in the nature, and encounter other deers, animals and even humans that are ready to kill you. The game shifts between night and day, and the background itself changes as well sometimes to avoid monotony. Other animals range from primates to bees to wolves.

The environment itself is harsh too. There are many spike pits scattered throughout the world, and the camera makes them hard to spot, but more on that later. On top of that, you have humans with shotguns ready to fire at you. These enemies are, in my opinion, the hardest to avoid, and if you try to fight against them, it will almost always result in death. After all, the Deer God wanted you to go through the same difficult stuff a deer has to endure every day.

In order to survive, you need to eat food. Since deer are herbivores, you need to find fruits or plants to eat. If you fail to do so, your HP will go down. It normally regenerates by itself but only if you’ve eaten enough. On top of all the hazards you have to pay attention to, you also need to feed yourself in order to survive. It’s hard to be a deer.

There are animals that will attack you and some that won’t. If you confront and kill these aggressive animals, you will see blue particles sprouting from the corpse. It’s like the data a Digimon throws when you kill it. If you murder innocent animals that have done nothing to you, then some red material will come out of the body. This will determine if you lean towards the good or bad side of the Force… I mean, of whatever morale system this game has. I didn’t find any noticeable effect on gameplay, but it could surely become important afterwards.

General Impressions

The graphics are nice but sometimes they make it hard to spot your character.The graphics are nice but sometimes they make it hard to spot your character.

I think that the premise for this game is very interesting, with all of the becoming-a-deer stuff. You can even get punished by the Deer God by “failing to fulfill your duty” and getting killed too much. It will trasform you into some kind of beaver that is slower and more difficult to control.

How do I know? Because I died a lot while playing this game. I died more than I would like to admit. The problem is that it wasn’t my fault the whole time. The camera, in my opinion, is atrocious at moments. It is very easy to find yourself in a situation in which you are not able to see what comes next. Should you make a big jump? Should you just make a small one because there’s a platform below? What if there’s a spike pit in front but I can’t see it?

Maybe this was done on purpose, but sometimes spotting your deer gets VERY hard, especially at night. This is because its color gets blended with the background easily. There’s a very dim glowing light that helps with this problem but it gets very serious sometimes. Animals and, to a lesser degree, food, can get hard to spot as well.

However, these frustrations are not dealbreakers. The big problem came once when I locked my phone with the game opened and then returned to it. Some moments later, I died (obviously), and when I came back, the game thought I was at the beginning. When it was teaching me how to double jump, it crashed. Then I opened the game again and my save file was completely lost.

Just like Watto after betting with Qui-Gon Jinn, I lost everything. Afterwards, the game failed to load portions of the map, or it loaded them very late. It also crashed extremely frequently. The solution for this problem was to delete the game’s data.

Graphics

The pause menu shows a good vs. evil system that changes depending on your kills.The pause menu shows a good vs. evil system that changes depending on your kills.

The game features pixeled graphics (surprise, surprise) in absolutely every element displayed. Unlike some other games that incorporate pixeled graphics, this graphic style is preserved throughout the game. Even the font is pixelated.

However, because of reasons explained above, sometimes it is hard to enjoy these graphics. Perhaps a better choice of colors could make it easier for the player, but, for now, the graphics hinder the enjoyment one can get from the game, especially at night.

Sound

It was surprising to see that music in this game changes constantly. Every time I died, the music was different. I can’t fully describe the music I’ve heard. Sometimes it is dramatic, sometimes it is very relaxing, sometimes it is just there. It never gets boring, that’s for certain.

There are very few sound effects in the game. None of them are particularly noteworthy but it is nice to have them there anyways. Most of the effects are heard when you fight against other animals or humans, and they do a decent job of adding some depth to these sequences.

Conclusion

The Deer God blends several interesting elements, such as an intriguing storyline and engaging mechanics, but unfortunately suffers from some annoyances that keep it from being a great game.

I will not pretend that every person in the world will experience the same progress-deleting bug I experienced, but this is the first time I’ve lost a save file in 20 years of gaming and it has been deeply frustrating. Besides, other stuff like making it very difficult to spot stuff in the night and camera woes make the game more frustrating than it should. However, with some small changes, this could be a very solid game, since the foundations are there.

Download and install The Deer God from the Google Play Store.

14
Feb

Powerhouse bacteria decontaminates wastewater and makes energy


Why it matters to you

This research may provide water treatment plants with an all-in-one package to decontaminate water and power the process.

For years, scientists have known Shewanella oneidensis isn’t your average bacteria. For one thing, these little organisms can thrive with or without oxygen. What’s even more unusual is their natural ability to generate electricity by gobbling up heavy metals such as iron and mercury. In a new study, researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara have demonstrated that S. oneidensis may not just be strange but important, and may in the future offer a means to decontaminate wastewater.

When the bacteria metabolizes heavy metals in an anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment, it uses current-conducting proteins to generate energy. With this in mind, bioengineers from the Bazan Research Group created a molecule called DSFO+, which was similar in structure to the bacteria’s proteins. When the modified molecules were consumed by S. oneidensis, the process replaced the bacteria’s naturally occurring proteins and enabled the bacteria to produce even more energy than usual. The researchers published a paper detailing their finding in the journal Chem.

More: ‘Smart bricks’ that recycle wastewater, generate electricity being developed

“We aided the metabolism of the bacteria,” Nathan Kirchhofer, a former UCSB materials graduate student and co-lead author, said in a press release. “I think very few people have approached this from a chemical modification type of approach. We actually just took bacteria as they were and added an external agent that helps with their native process. To the best of our knowledge, it is the first time this has been demonstrated.”

The researchers decided to chemically (rather than genetically) modify the organisms because genetically modified microbes are restricted from release into the environment, thus limiting their practical applications. Moreover, genetic modification is organism-specific, whereas DSFO+ may be used in similar studies with other organisms.

“We see DSFO+ being used to improve wastewater treatment by allowing the bacteria already used to treat the water to produce electricity, to enable other bacteria to create biofuels by putting electricity into bacterial strains and getting high-value chemicals out, and to use DSFO+ as a molecular probe to better understand the metabolism of bacteria in certain situations,” co-lead author Zach Rengert told Digital Trends.

14
Feb

T-Mobile undercuts Verizon’s unlimited plan, throws in HD video for good measure


Why it matters to you

It’s always a good thing when mobile carriers compete, and a lower price for T-Mobile One definitely counts as a good thing.

After what felt like years of being the butt of jokes made by T-Mobile and Sprint, Verizon finally reintroduced an unlimited data plan in time for Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately for Big Red, T-Mobile tried to rain on its unlimited parade with changes to its One plan.

Starting this Friday, February 17, the One plan will include HD video streaming and 10GB of high-speed hot spot data. Previously, you needed to fork over either an extra $3 each day or $15 each month for streaming video higher than 480p resolution. T-Mobile told Ars Technica that HD video will need to be enabled once every 30 days, though the day passes will be phased out. As for the hot spot data, One capped customers at 512Kbps speeds and needed to either upgrade to the One Plus plan or pay $3 for 24-hour passes for higher speeds.

More: It’s finally back — Verizon again offers its unlimited plan to eager customers

What looks to win over some folks, however, is the $100 price tag for two lines under the One plan, which undercuts Verizon’s offering by $40. It is unknown whether the pricing change is permanent, though pricing is still the same $70 per month for one line. Previously, you needed to shell out $120 for two lines.

The changes will go into effect for new and existing customers, though the latter will need to activate these features either through the T-Mobile app or T-Mobile’s website.

Even though these changes are certainly welcome, since competition is what led to them, capping customers at 480p streaming video resolution and 512Kbps tethering speeds with the original One plan were seen as two controversial and asinine “features.” With the changes, T-Mobile positioned uncompressed video streaming as a promotional feature rather than something we should take for granted.

It will be interesting to see if Verizon responds, particularly since it has not even been two days since it announced its unlimited data plan.

See more at T-Mobile

14
Feb

Watch live: Experts discuss why Asteroid Day could save us from catastrophy


Why it matters to you

The big-name experts behind the U.N.’s Asteroid Day are trying to prevent a potentially devastating natural disaster.

A devastating asteroid impact has been the topic of science fiction, but a whole bunch of real-world scientists think it’s cause for concern. Richard Dawkins, Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Queen guitarist-turned-astrophysicist Brian May are among the hundreds of scientists who’ve shown support for Asteroid Day, an event that was sanctioned by the United Nations in December.

Today, astronomers from around the world hold a press conference to discuss the benefits and threats of asteroids, leading up to the first official U.N. event, which will be held on June 30, the anniversary of the tremendous Tunguska impact in Siberia in 1908. The press conference itself is appropriately timed — just a day before the four-year anniversary of the Chelyabinsk meteor, which made waves in dash-cam videos across the internet and convinced at least one astronomy writer about the potential danger of such a strike. At just 65 feet wide (small in the cosmic scale of things) the meteor’s impact was still powerful enough to injure 1,500 people and damage over 7,000 buildings.

More: Top European scientists want to crash a spacecraft into an asteroid — again

Asteroid Day was founded by filmmaker Grig Richters and Brian May in 2014, with the initial event held a year later. The goal of the event is to raise awareness of the potential for an asteroid impact, while detecting new asteroids and researching ways to deflect ones that are potentially threatening. Last November, the team gathered over 200 signatures from top scientists for “I Support AIM,” a campaign to get funding for the Asteroid Impact Mission.

“We do not have to be concerned about a significant asteroid impacting Earth on the short-middle term, if significant means a body that is capable of global effects,” planetary scientist Patrick Michel told Digital Trends in November. “Most objects larger than 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) are known and they don’t case a threat on timescales up to or ability to predict their evolutions (typically 100 years) and we follow them up to expand the prediction to longer terms. The uncertainty is for objects larger than 140 meters (450 feet), capable of regional damages. We only know a small fraction of them, about 15 percent.”

AIM was denied funding by the European Space Agency (ESA) in December.

Today’s press conference will feature top asteroid experts from around the world. Catch the live-stream from 8:30 a.m. ET, or rewatch the event here.

14
Feb

Looking for love? Try the new OK Cupid this Valentine’s Day


Why it matters to you

OK Cupid says its new DoubleTake feature has already tripled mutual matches, because apparently, people aren’t so shallow after all.

On this, the day where we are most likely to embrace Cupid and his well-intentioned arrows, he’s getting a makeover. We’re talking, of course, about dating app OK Cupid, the popular dating app who on Valentine’s Day is introducing a revamp of its mobile app. While it won’t be totally ready until March, the team just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to show off its progress on February 14, and really, who are we to blame them?

With the new and improved version of OK Cupid, the app is getting a brand new look with updated typography and illustrations, and from a less superficial standpoint, OK Cupid is also changing up its feature set to set itself apart from competitors like Tinder.

Replacing OK Cupid’s Quickmatch section is a new feature known as DoubleTake. With this new layout, OK Cupid hopes to move away from the knee-jerk, superficial judgment calls that generally dictate matching on dating apps. Instead of offering a single picture that asks you to make an immediate “hot or not” call, DoubleTake gives you not only multiple images, but also profile highlights.

More: A Valentine’s Day gift from Hinge: Book tells stories of digital dating gone right

“We know that each person is much more than just a photo, and our new features are dedicated to highlighting their uniqueness and individuality,” OK Cupid’s CEO Elie Seidman explained in a press release.

DoubleTake is also the new home screen in the updated OK Cupid app, which means that anytime you’re presented with a potential match, you’ll also see his or her age, location, percentage match, height, whether there are pets or kids involved, and personality traits like “friendly,” “energetic,” “organized,” and more.

Apparently, OK Cupid has been testing Double Take for a while now, and has already seen beneficial effects, with a tripling of mutual matches. “With DoubleTake, we show many more facets of a person – we’re showing what makes people tick so that you’ll have better dates and better relationships,” Seidman said. “Every person has a story and instead of helping users speed up, DoubleTake slows them down within the swiping interface so that they can appreciate each other’s uniqueness,” Seidman added.

You can download the new and improved OK Cupid app today on iOS and Android, and expect a full makeover to hit your screen in March.

Download for iOS Download for Android

14
Feb

Amazon launches a Skype competitor in the form of Amazon Chime


Why it matters to you

Most meetings today happen remotely and Amazon Chime wants to make those sorts of meetings a bit more seamless.

Amazon just keeps finding ways to help your small business grow. The latest offering to emerge from the online retail giant is Amazon Chime, a new project from Amazon Web Services. It’s described as “a new unified communications service that makes meetings easier and more efficient than ever before,” and it looks an awful lot like a direct competitor with Skype. Amazon Chime will let users engage in video and audio meetings with just one click and allows for a synchronized experience across desktops, iOS, and Android devices.

Promising to take the frustration out of meetings, especially those that seem to be happening across different states or different countries with increasing frequency, Amazon Chime hopes to provide a more seamless solution to teleconferencing. Without a dial-in or PIN needed, Amazon Chime instead alerts all call participants when a meeting has begun, so all you need to do is click one button to be placed into the conference.

More: Yet another chatbot may be on its way to Google’s Allo

Amazon Chime also shows everyone exactly who they are talking to with a visual roster of participants within the meeting and any attendee has the option of muting their line no matter what sort of device they’re on, or where they are.

“It’s pretty hard to find people who actually like the technology they use for meetings today. Most meeting applications or services are hard to use, deliver bad audio and video, require constant switching between multiple tools to do everything they want, and are way too expensive,”  Gene Farrell, vice president of Enterprise Applications said in a statement. “Amazon Chime delivers frustration-free meetings, allowing users to be productive from anywhere. And with no ongoing maintenance or management fees, Amazon Chime is a great choice for companies that are looking for a solution to meetings that their employees will love to use.”

14
Feb

Amazon launches a Skype competitor in the form of Amazon Chime


Why it matters to you

Most meetings today happen remotely and Amazon Chime wants to make those sorts of meetings a bit more seamless.

Amazon just keeps finding ways to help your small business grow. The latest offering to emerge from the online retail giant is Amazon Chime, a new project from Amazon Web Services. It’s described as “a new unified communications service that makes meetings easier and more efficient than ever before,” and it looks an awful lot like a direct competitor with Skype. Amazon Chime will let users engage in video and audio meetings with just one click and allows for a synchronized experience across desktops, iOS, and Android devices.

Promising to take the frustration out of meetings, especially those that seem to be happening across different states or different countries with increasing frequency, Amazon Chime hopes to provide a more seamless solution to teleconferencing. Without a dial-in or PIN needed, Amazon Chime instead alerts all call participants when a meeting has begun, so all you need to do is click one button to be placed into the conference.

More: Yet another chatbot may be on its way to Google’s Allo

Amazon Chime also shows everyone exactly who they are talking to with a visual roster of participants within the meeting and any attendee has the option of muting their line no matter what sort of device they’re on, or where they are.

“It’s pretty hard to find people who actually like the technology they use for meetings today. Most meeting applications or services are hard to use, deliver bad audio and video, require constant switching between multiple tools to do everything they want, and are way too expensive,”  Gene Farrell, vice president of Enterprise Applications said in a statement. “Amazon Chime delivers frustration-free meetings, allowing users to be productive from anywhere. And with no ongoing maintenance or management fees, Amazon Chime is a great choice for companies that are looking for a solution to meetings that their employees will love to use.”

14
Feb

Google fooled by fake Amazon site that showed up as an ad in search results


Why it matters to you

This scam demonstrates that even the most trustworthy sites can sometimes unintentionally direct users toward questionable content, due to the efforts of malicious entities.

Google has been hoodwinked by fake Amazon ads that were injected into users’ search results. These ads were served up last Wednesday to anyone performing a Google search for the word “amazon,” even appearing ahead of the legitimate link to the online store.

Users who clicked on the phony Amazon link were taken to a fake computer support scam, according to a report from ZDNet. The end goal was apparently to get people to call a phone number, at which point there would presumably have been an attempt to acquire sensitive data such as password credentials or bank account information.

The exact strategy differed depending on which operating system the computer in question had installed. The site was able to determine if the target was using Windows or MacOS, and presented a different site in each case — of course, this was simply set dressing designed to fool the user.

More: Run by robots: Amazon’s high-tech supermarket may only need three employees

If there was any attempt to close the browser window, a pop-up would appear, adding random characters to the end of the web address. This apparently caused certain users’ browsers, or even their computers, to freeze.

All in all, the latter stages of this scam weren’t particularly sophisticated. However, it’s notable that the culprits were able to get their fake ads past Google’s safeguards — especially since they were posing as a retailer as well-known as Amazon.

Last month, Google released its “bad ads” report for 2016, detailing its efforts to crack down on misleading and malicious content. It’s clear that the company is trying to prevent ads like this one from being served to users, but it seems that there are still some holes in its defenses.

As with many cases of online security being breached, the best advice for users is to be vigilant. There’s a chance that even ads served up by Google might be malicious, so it’s best to be wary of which links you follow whenever you’re browsing the web.

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