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Microsoft's Hidden Windows 8 Feature: Ads 635

Posted by timothy
from the let's-call-it-a-feature dept.
MojoKid writes "Despite the fact that I've been using Windows 8 for the past three weeks, I somehow managed to overlook a rather stark feature in the OS: ads. No, we're not talking about ads cluttering up the desktop or login screen (thankfully), but rather ads that can be found inside of some Modern UI apps that Windows ships with. That includes Finance, Weather, Travel, News and so forth. On previous mobile platforms, such as iOS and Android, seeing ads inside of free apps hasn't been uncommon. It's a way for the developer to get paid while allowing the user to have the app for free. However, while people can expect ads in a free app, no one expects ads in a piece of software that they just paid good money for."
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Microsoft's Hidden Windows 8 Feature: Ads

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  • Re:Kind of sleezy (Score:5, Informative)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:20PM (#41919351) Homepage

    Do you think Apple doesn't 'embed' a music store in their OS? Doesn't iTunes come pre-installed on both MacOS and iOS?

    Yeah, but neither the iTunes player nor the store show me ads.

    You launch the music player, you play music. You launch the music store, and it will show you stuff to buy.

    This is ads embedded in the native apps ... which is a whole different thing.

  • by tepples (727027) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {selppet}> on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:24PM (#41919405) Homepage Journal

    just think of how Apple is going to react to MS embedding a music store in the OS, or Steam is going to react to adding a games store in the OS.

    Valve has already published its reaction to the Windows Store in Windows 8. See stories from late July [slashdot.org] and late October [slashdot.org].

  • Re:Kind of sleezy (Score:5, Informative)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:24PM (#41919411) Homepage
    Yeah, but I can use iTunes, I've used it often. It has the feature to buy music. It has not once shown me a full screen ad asking my to buy music. In fact, at least as I recall from using it on Windows, if you don't click on the store, which is a small thing on the left hand side, you never see the store. Whereas the "Music" app from Microsoft, is basically a store with the added feature of being able to play some music. If you want to listen to your own music, you have to scroll the screen to the left, which for most people is completely unintuitive because most people would assume you already start out on the far left of a horizontally scrollable interface, not some weird place in the middle. Also, Apple is not in a monopoly position, and Microsoft is, so that changes the rules a bit.
  • Re:EULA? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stolpskott (2422670) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:25PM (#41919421)

    On page 7 of the 11 page legal document called the Windows 8 EULA, in Section 6 "Windows Apps", Microsoft include the following wonderfully enlightening information...

    "Some Windows apps include advertising. You may choose to opt out of personalized advertising by visiting choice.live.com."

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@ya ... m minus math_god> on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:27PM (#41919459) Homepage Journal

    Gold gets you ads as well.

  • by The Moof (859402) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:37PM (#41919637)

    Or like how Steam tries to bombard users with popup ads anytime they want to play the games they've already paid for?

    I'm not sure how you're using Steam, but this has never happened to me.

  • Re:EULA? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:51PM (#41919837) Journal

    Fact the first: Adverts within an application consume display space, and in smaller screens, this becomes more apparent.

    Fact the second: Adverts require that you be a bit more careful with your mouse/finger/stylus/whatever, lest you accidentally click on the advert and interrupt what you're doing (especially if you're playing a game or other activity that has a high chance of random clickage).

    Fact the third: Ads in paid-for/included applications, delivered by the OS maker, cannot be rationalized, especially since the competition does no such thing. When an OEM does it, it is often labeled "crapware".

    Fact the fourth:: Even if you do not use it (them), you are stuck with the application(s) residing on your hard drive, taking up space, and potentially running in the background, which would consume both CPU and networking bandwidth. For mobile devices with 3G/4G data caps and using Windows 8 (be it RT or x86), this becomes a potential extra cost... you are literally paying to see the adverts in programs you did not install or choose yourself.

    Fact the fifth: You as a consumer were not made aware of this intrusion until after you purchased the item, and since it is software, good luck getting a refund on it from either OEM or OS maker.

    Conclusion: This ad-laden software is a massive flaw, not a feature.

  • by Tenebrousedge (1226584) <tenebrousedge@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday November 08, 2012 @04:11PM (#41923329)

    No, that's not how things work.

    Without Adblock,
    User requests a piece of content -> Firefox uses content policies to determine how and whether a request should be sent -> Firefox checks the local browser cache for the file -> Firefox requests the DNS record for the domain in question -> The OS parses the local DNS cache (the hosts file should be preloaded)-> finds address 0.0.0.0, returns that to Firefox.

    Adblock stops that process at step 2. Hosts would be faster IFF [wikipedia.org] Adblock adds more overhead to the content policy process than it would take to actually make the request.

    I took a minute to actually test this.
    Atom netbook, Linux, Firefox 17 beta, Adblock Plus, Firebug, Mozilla's internal DNS/file cache disabled, hosts file 34 lines long:
    Normal DNS name resolution: 3 ms.
    With hosts blocking : 3 ms.
    With Adblock : 0 ms.

    A larger hosts file would of course increase the time taken for DNS resolution.

    Not only this, but it can also filter parts of addresses (e.g. filter example.com/badcontent but not example.com/goodcontent). You can filter all sorts of things with regexes that are completely impossible with naive blacklists, like blocking content based on its type.

    Your A, B, C, D list is all handled by a DNS caching server. Do note, this is not the same thing as the built-in local DNS cache, so your comments are really completely off-base.

    DNS caching servers may be a bit more complex, but again they're also more useful: they work for any device that supports TCP/IP networking. The one I am using weighs in at a hefty 39.9 kilobytes. How big is your implementation?

    A "plain" manually updated hosts file is going to be larger in itself than any other form of blacklisting. Even so, you might have an argument still by virtue of simplicity. When you start updating it with a script, you've just tossed all that out the window: your software performs the exact same function as a dns caching server, except badly, with more resources, and less flexibility.

    The fundamental weakness of hosts is that you can't do regexes, and you cannot enumerate all malicious domains. It is difficult to strictly compare the performance of string matching (hosts) versus regular expressions (DNS, ABP). A small hosts file would have a chance of beating the other solutions, in theory. In practice, not so much, and by the time we get to multi-megabyte hosts files, you're pretty much screwed for performance.

    Are we done here?

  • You must be new here (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tenebrousedge (1226584) <tenebrousedge@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday November 08, 2012 @04:24PM (#41923523)

    You can't moderate and post on the same topic, dipshit.

    You have this hilarious persecution complex, where you think all ACs are the same person, and the moderators *must* be sockpuppets of the same people who disagree with you.

    If you really think I've been modding you down somehow, even though the site doesn't allow that, then you should write to the site admins and report me. They should be able to correlate the IPs and determine whether I've been sockpuppeting. I invite you to do this, because I am damn sure of what they would turn up.

    And no, no one has the time to use separate proxies just for the pleasure of downmodding you. Basically you're the only one who is that much of a crazy asshole, and you're projecting onto everyone else.

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