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Google stops taking political ads in Maryland because it's not sure that it can comply with a new transparency law (GOOG, GOOGL)


Maryland's General Assembly now requires that those buying political advertising identify themselves and how much they spent.  Google executives are unsure that they can comply with the law, according to a report in the Baltimore Sun.  This is just the latest fallout for some of the big online advertisers following revelations that people representing the Russian government bought ads to subvert elections. 

Google says it wants to comply with Maryland's new election law that requires anybody paying for political ads to  disclose their identity and how much they spent.

The trouble is that Google's systems aren't set up yet to gather or report that information before the law goes into effect on Sunday,

Amazon beat out Walmart in a deal for a small pharmacy startup — and it shows just how intense the rivalry’s gotten

Amazon just signaled its intent to get into the pharmaceutical business through the acquisition of a startup called PillPack. The deal came just a few months after Walmart was reported to be thinking of buying PillPack. Walmart lost about $3 billion in market cap on Thursday after Amazon announced it had bought the pharmacy startup.  That impact to Walmart's valuation over a reported $1 billion deal shows how intense the rivalry between the two retail giants has gotten.

Amazon threw the

How large asteroids must be to destroy a city, state, country, or the planet

Scientists who study asteroids often say that Earth is drifting through a cosmic shooting gallery.

Some angry space rocks, like the recent Chelyabinsk meteorite that exploded over Russia, are big enough to shatter windows and crumble walls. Others, like the one that caused the Tunguska Event of 1908, can flatten entire cities. A handful can trigger global extinctions, like the asteroid that smashed into Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula 66 million years ago.

But how big of an asteroid does it take to damage cities, states, countries, and the planet?

On the fourth-annual

Inside a tense, whirlwind meeting with SoftBank's Masayoshi Son that landed a startup $250 million

Before a Valley startup named Cohesity landed a massive $250 million round of investment led by Softbank's Vision Fund, the founder had to pass muster with Masayoshi Son himself, Softbank's founder and one of the world's richest men. It was an unusual and whirlwind meeting at Son's California mansion, wedged into a six-hour layover. Cohesity CEO Mohit Aron and Softbank's senior managing partner Deep Nishar shared details of the meeting with Business Insider, and what it's like to be a startup working with the world-renown billionaire.

Earlier this month, a computer storage startup called Cohesity announced that it had raised a massive $250 million round of investment mostly from Softbank's Vision Fund.

Google just updated text messaging for Android, and it completely changed the way I text

Like so many other Android users, I rely on Messages for Android — Google's text messaging application — every day. It's my main means of communication with the people I care about most.

So I was pretty excited to hear that Messages for Android now has its own web client, accessible from any web browser. It's called Messages for web, naturally:

In short, Messages for web lets Android users text message seamlessly from any computer with a web browser. It's super easy to set up, and even syncs in real time between phone and computer. 

I've been using it for nearly a week at this point, and it's fundamentally changed how I communicate.

Here's why:

First, setting it up: It's a snap!

Here's how you set up Android text messaging on the web:

We drove a $24,000 Smart car and a $15,000 electric 3-wheeler to see which tiny vehicle is better — here's the verdict

The Smart Fortwo and the new Electra Meccanica Solo are two of the smallest vehicles I've ever driven. Comparing the two is a bit of a loaded deck for the Smart because it's a bona fide car, while the Solo is an electric urban autocycle. The Smart takes it, but the vehicles have also been around since the late 1990s and have never sold well — so the field is open for fresh ideas!

Big SUVs and large pickups might be dominating the US auto market these days, but hope springs eternal for smaller rides.

Daimler rolled out one of the most familiar micro-cars in the late 1990s, under the Smart brand. The idea was to offer ultra-compact transportation to city dwellers. And the vehicles are still around.

The evidence is mounting: Apple's next big moneymaker will be a media bundle with music, video, and news (AAPL)

Apple is working on a subscription bundle that combines streaming music, original video, and news, according to three news reports. It's still unclear how Apple will distribute the bundle. Apple has said it wants to sell over $50 billion in subscriptions and services per year by 2021. 

Three reports in recent weeks have suggested that Apple is getting ready to launch a new subscription service that combines music, original video, and news and magazine content. 

CNN has the most information on Apple's next big moneymaker

Apple SVP Eddy Cue is overseeing a plan to bundle Apple's original TV and film programming, Apple Music, and Apple News (including Texture) into a variety of subscription plans, a source familiar with the plans said. The bundles, first hinted at by

My first impressions of "Battlefield V," the successor to one of the best games I've played

In a strange way, I haven't been too excited about "Battlefield V."

It's mostly because "Battlefield 1" — its predecessor — was so good that I didn't exactly feel a need for a new "Battlefield" game. It had nothing to do with the somewhat controversial trailer, or anything EA and Dice announced during "Battlefield V's" announcement. 

But I'm certainly more interested after a few hours playing the new "Battlefield V" closed alpha.

Check out my first few impressions of "Battlefield V," the successor to my favorite game:

(Handy tip: If you want to watch the GIFs below in better quality, hover over the GIFs, click the gear icon on the bottom right, and turn on "HD.")

"Battlefield V" builds on the chaos that made "Battlefield 1" one of the best games I've ever played.

Your life in "Battlefield V" can be a brutal slog, and it's hard not to grimace during the chaos of an intense fire fight. 

People are discovering that scammers are controlling their Apple accounts using a feature for families to share apps (AAPL)

Scammers in China are hijacking people's Apple IDs and making purchases via an iPhone and Mac feature called "Family Sharing." The feature is designed to help families share apps and music, but the scammers are using it lock out the actual owner of the account and buy in-app purchases and iTunes gift cards. To protect yourself, you should make sure you have two-factor authentication turned on for your Apple account. 

When David tried to download apps on his iPhone and iPad recently, he found he wasn't able to because his account was linked to something called "Family Sharing."

That's a feature that Apple introduced in 2014 to make it easier to share apps, iCloud storage, and iTunes content like music and movies with up to five family members.  

Amazon Prime has invaded Whole Foods stores, but an important word is notably absent (AMZN)

Amazon has fully infiltrated Whole Foods stores as its discounts for Prime members have been expanded to all US locations. But while Prime is fully integrated into the store, the word "Amazon" is nowhere to be seen. Amazon's brand has become increasingly loaded as it draws detractors across demographics.

Amazon has officially left its mark on Whole Foods stores — though not with its name.

Discounts for Amazon Prime members have now rolled out to all Whole Foods stores across the country. The signage is plentiful and immediately apparent. The in-store advertising looks to be on every surface imaginable, as seen in