Hate ads? Pay Google to block them for youGoogle is testing an ad-blocker service, Amazon may be inserting ads into streaming video, and Comcast lets you track the cable guy.
Google invented a way to block its own ads. Seriously. I'm Bridget Carey. And this is your CNET Update. [MUSIC] Would you pay a subscription to remove ads from webpages? Google, a company that makes most of its money from advertising, is testing a service that lets you block ads for a small monthly fee, between $1 and $3. It's called Google Contributor. When you visit a participating website, the ads are replaced with a thank you note, and a portion of your subscription fee is shared with that website. Right now, only ten sites are participating. And you can't try it out unless you are invited to the test. If it seems totally crazy that Google would block its own ads, consider the following. Google may be coming up with a solution to micropayments, the idea that you can support the sites you like by throwing in a few cents into the tip jar when you visit. It's not practical for you to give $0.10 here and $0.10 there, because transaction processing fees eat all that up. With this Google is handling the tips in bulk. Also, Google's testing an ad-free paid music service on YouTube. If we get used to paying small bits for ad-free music, maybe in years it won't seem so strange to pay for ad-free websites. But we're a long way from that. Now while Google is ad free, Amazon could be heading in the opposite direction. The New York Post reports that Amazon may offer ad supported video streaming and it could be cheaper than Netflix. This would be something separate from the Amazon Prime instant video service you get with the $100 yearly subscription. Now it's not often you hear about innovation with cable operators. But perhaps Comcast has come up with a way to make appointments less annoying. The Comcast My Account app will alert customers with scheduled appointments when the technician is about a half hour away. And you can track them on a map. You'll also get alerts if they're running late. Comcast is first testing this in the Boston area. Now, before we end, there's quite a bit of innovation happening in the smart home space right now, but not all of the technology is quite perfected just yet. To see what I mean, you should check out our review of the Ubi. It's a smart speaker that's designed to answer your voice commands. Think of it as a Siri on your wall. But you can turn on your home appliances as well as get answers to questions. Okay, Ubi, turn heater on. Tune in. Turn on and drop out. That doesn't work. Yeah, voice recognition isn't at the Star Trek computer level just yet. That's your tech news update for cnet in New York, I'm Bridget Carey.