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ExtraBITS for 20 March 2017

In ExtraBITS this week, the iMessage App Store has stagnated after a promising start, LG has fixed the interference problems in the UltraFine 5K Display, and Google has been caught slipping ads into Google Home responses.

iMessage App Store Growth Slowing After Initial Surge — Analytics firm Sensor Tower has found that while the iMessage App Store that Apple introduced in iOS 10 got off to a strong start, it’s now stagnating. The good news: nearly 5000 apps now boast iMessage compatibility. However, that growth has slowed significantly, from 116 percent between September and the end of October to just 9 percent between January and February. The slowdown doesn’t surprise us, as we’ve found most iMessage apps slow, hard to use, and largely pointless. Are you using any iMessage apps regularly? If so, tell us
about them in the comments.

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LG Fixes UltraFine 5K Display Wi-Fi Interference Problems — We’ve previously reported on the LG UltraFine 5K Display suffering from interference issues when positioned near a Wi-Fi router. The company promised to improve radio shielding in the monitors, and MacRumors has confirmed that newer units no longer suffer from interference. If you’re buying a new LG UltraFine 5K Display, note that units with serial numbers starting with 702 or 703 feature the upgraded shielding. Owners of older units can contact LG for a repair, which LG says will take 7–10 business days.

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Google Home Caught Sneaking Ads into Responses — File this one under the “That’s just wrong” category. Google Home, the search giant’s smart speaker, has been caught slipping ads for the new “Beauty and the Beast” movie into its virtual assistant responses. On Twitter, user Bryson Meunier posted a video showing Google Home promoting the movie when he asked what his day was going to be like. Google insists that it wasn’t an ad, but a way to call out “timely content.” It seems as though the ads have stopped running — we strongly hope the backlash has quelled similar future
experimentation on Google’s part. Smart speakers and virtual assistants are stupid enough as it stands; they won’t succeed if they’re both clueless and venal.

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