Verizon will allow all of its Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL phones to immediately be used on different carriers, a spokesperson has confirmed to The Verge by email. When the phone went on sale yesterday, buyers noticed that the Pixel 3 was locked to Verizon’s network until it was activated. Once activated with a Verizon SIM, the device would be unlocked overnight for use with other carriers.
But now Verizon is lifting the lock fully and immediately — but maybe only temporarily. “At launch, there was an update related to an automatic overnight unlock on Pixel 3s, which also showed up on phones sold in Best Buy stores,” the spokesperson said. “We have temporarily removed it from Pixel 3 and are assessing where it will be implemented in the future.”
This really most directly affects Best Buy customers; it’s not like you can walk into a Verizon store and just buy the phone without an account. Google is also operating pop-up stores that sell the Verizon Pixels, but it’s unclear whether they can be purchased without an account. I’ve emailed the company for details.
Earlier this year, Verizon announced that it would begin locking newly-purchased smartphones until they were activated on the company’s network. The measure, Verizon claims, is to prevent theft at its retail stores and those of its resellers. But because it’s the exclusive US carrier to offer Google’s new phones, the policy quickly ran into pushback upon yesterday’s release.
The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are also available unlocked directly from Google.
Google has quietly removed the Unlock with Voice Match function from its latest Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL phones, as first reported by Piunikaweb. The feature, which was previously available on the past two Pixel devices, allowed for users to unlock their phones’ Assistant features with an, “OK Google” command. Google confirmed that the feature is no longer available on its support page, where it explains: “On Pixel 3 phones, you can’t unlock your phone by saying ‘Ok Google.’ Instead, you can use the Google Assistant on your lock screen.”
This is a pretty big functionality to lose for any Pixel owners who were expecting to see the feature carried over to the Pixel 3. With the previous Pixel phones, users could make calls, send messages, and access third-party apps via Google Assistant voice support without unlocking their phones. The “Unlock with Voice Match” toggle in the Pixel 2’s Assistant settings has now been replaced on the Pixel 3’s settings with a “Lock screen personal results” toggle, which now reads “Use Voice Match to access personal results like email, calendar, contacts, and reminders when your phone is locked.”
@madebygoogle@Google 1) Got my Pixel 3. Super excited. Transferred data from my original Pixel. Tried using “okay Google call mom.” Didn’t work. Did an hour of troubleshooting on my own. Went through 2 hours of troubleshooting with your support teams. No fix in sight.
It’s not clear why Google removed the feature, but one theory could be that the Voice Match feature had some security flaws that could allow for someone with a similar-sounding voice, or a voice recording, to unlock the phones. Another reason could be that Google sees its new Pixel Stand, which allows you to use Google Assistant without having to unlock the phone when docked, as a better solution for hands-free access.
The glory days of The Simpsons, which recently began its 30th season, have been over for multiple decades. But that hasn’t stopped the show from inspiring some viral memes in recent years that wrap its mid-90s humor in the contemporary, often bizarre visual language of modern internet humor.
While the most famous remains the endlessiterations on the now-famous 1996 ”Steamed Hams” dinner scene, the latest Simpsons meme might be the strangest yet. It revolves around two very retro concepts: The Simpsons (back when it was good), and using the now-defunct, mid-aughts peer-to-peer filesharing service Limewire.
In this spirit of many of the best memes, the Simpsons / Limewire combo is not only non-sequitur but oddly specific, focusing on the malware-inflected files that often posed as MP3s on the service, particularly those claiming to be the song “Numb” by Linkin Park.
It’s a potent, nostalgic triumvirate for social media users of a certain age, a highly specific Venn diagram of the comedy, technology, and music that many of them found edgy or important at the time — only to watch them decline into mediocrity or irrelevance as they grew older and the world moved on. This specialized intersection makes it all the more potent for those who recognize all the pieces of the puzzle and say, “yes!” There’s something of a secret password element to this, a shibboleth that not only marks users of a certain age and experience but unites them.
For example, if you aren’t familiar with the subject matter and comedic cadence of a sixth season episode where the Simpson family travels to Australia — as well as the frustrations of trying to illegally download music without riddling your computer with viruses in 2005 — the following image will make little to no sense. If you do, well, you’re welcome.
It’s the memetic equivalent of “only [insert generation] kids will remember this!” And for those who do, there’s a very particular pleasure in feeling seen, in feeling known, in feeling for a fleeting moment that the experiences and joys of your youth have not passed forever beyond the veil of irrelevance. In 2018, sometimes this means photoshopping a giant lime on to the face Homer Simpson. Who are we to judge?
Google’s Pixel 3 is one of the best camera phones you can buy, but the competition is stiff. The iPhone XS can take equally great photographs — sometimes even better — than the Pixel 3, while the Note 9 often excels in low light.
Can you really tell the difference? See for yourself. We’re comparing a handful of photos from the Pixel 3 XL, iPhone XS Max, Galaxy Note 9, and the Pixel 2 XL (for those of you thinking about upgrading). If you have an iPhone XS or a smaller Pixel 3 or Pixel 2, expect the same image quality because the cameras are the exact same between the smaller and larger phone.
A few notes: These smartphones all take excellent photographs, and we’re going to be nitpicking to find the best. We used the automatic settings for every shot, because that’s how most people take photos in real life. You also may not agree with some of our winners here, and that’s completely OK. There are technical reasons to like a photograph over another, but it’s also a very subjective choice. This also isn’t the most scientific of tests, but we tried to do our best. Either way, if you have one of these phones, you absolutely won’t be disappointed with the camera.
You can expect almost any smartphone — even most budget phones — to take killer photos in broad daylight. All of these phones excel here in this photo of the downtown New York City skyline, but there are differences. It’s incredibly tough to pick a winner, but our least favorites are the iPhone XS Max and Note 9 photographs. The iPhone photo has a bit too much of a blue hue throughout, making the sky look a little unnatural and the buildings a tad washed out. The Note 9 photo has warmer toned buildings, but everything is slightly overexposed — look at the clouds, and you’ll see a lack of definition compared to the other photos. That being said, the iPhone XS photo has the best detail. Take a look at the Venmo billboard on the bottom left corner. You can read the Venmo logo on the card easiest on the iPhone XS.
But the Pixel 2 XL and Pixel 3 XL photos have good contrast, which is why we like them the most. We like the Pixel 3’s blue sky, and it has the best-looking clouds. We also like the Pixel 2 photo’s buildings, which are slightly brighter. If we had to choose a picture to share, we’d go with the Pixel 3 XL photo. Again, this is a very close test, and judging them alone, we’d share all of them.
Winner: Pixel 3 XL
It’s a little easier for us to choose a winner here, and it’s the Pixel 3 XL again. The Note 9 and iPhone XS Max photos have too much of a yellow hue, taken from the walls, that extend to every part of the photo. Even the skin tone of the girl is unnatural, and the clothes have a yellowish hue. Zoom in on the face, and there’s some visible noise.
The Pixel 2 XL loses out because the photo is blurry overall. We’re not sure if it was due to camera shake or something else, but the optical image stabilization in the phone should have compensated for slight movement. That brings us to the Pixel 3 XL. The subject sharply sticks out from the background, thanks to the more natural colors in the photo. There’s excellent detail from the denim jacket to the subject’s face — and while some noise is still visible, it’s not as noticeable as the Note 9 or iPhone XS photo.
Winner: Pixel 3 XL
In this portrait photo — which wasn’t captured with Portrait Mode — we see how each of these phones handle several components, from skin tone and depth to detail and color. The most detailed photos comes from the Pixel 2 XL and Note 9 — zoom in and the evidence is clear. The most natural colors are in the Pixel 3 XL photo; the subject’s skin tone is too red in the Pixel 2, iPhone, and Note 9 photos. The photos with the best natural depth are from the Pixel 2 and iPhone XS Max, but the Pixel 2 XL photo has too much of a red tone throughout.
Overall, we like the iPhone XS Max photo the most. The colors aren’t as natural as the Pixel 3 XL photo, but it does a better job than the rest. It has good enough detail, but the natural blur and the background are the best out of all the photos.
Winner: iPhone XS Max
This is a tough one. Once again, we love the Pixel 3 XL photo the most. It’s incredibly detailed with great white balance, very little noise, and the lights are well exposed. The Pixel 2 XL photo isn’t as sharp, and the Note 9 photo feels flat because it lacks punchy colors and the lights are overexposed. That brings us to the iPhone XS Max photo. It’s the most representative of what the store’s ceiling actually looked like, but it goes overboard in making everything look a little too orange. The glasses on the bottom right shelf, for example, were more white in reality.
Look back at the Pixel 3 XL photo now, and it looks a little too cold. It’s not as festive or fun as the iPhone photo. Our favorite would be somewhere in between, but since we have to pick a winner, we’d go with the Pixel 3 XL photo and edit it to warm it up a bit before sharing it on social media. We’d prefer to do this than tone down the iPhone photo because the Pixel 3 XL photo really has more detail — zoom in on the single large light in the middle left of the photo. Look at the steel bar. There’s more detail and less grain on the Pixel 3 photo. It’s the best one to edit.
Winner: Pixel 3 XL
These photos were captured at the New York Coffee Festival, where the space is packed to the brim with people holding cups of coffee. It’s a good way to see if these phones can quickly capture photos in weird angles and not produce a blurry photo, because you’re often dealing with poorer lighting and a lot of crowds moving around you that could cause you to shake. We tried to minimize our movement as much as possible.
Zoom in on the coffee beans, and the Pixel 2 XL — the only 2017 phone on this list — does the best job. It’s the sharpest, and if you zoom out a little more, it has the most natural-looking beans. We’d say the Pixel 3 and the iPhone XS come in second and third place, respectively. The Pixel 3 is sharper than the fuzzier iPhone XS photo, but it also cranks the saturation but a little too high. The Note 9 lags — the beans look relatively sharp, but the tablecloth looks like it’s fading out of existence for some reason.
Winner: Pixel 2 XL
First off, do not take the sharpness of the spinning wheel in this photo into consideration. It was spun in a few photos, and it may have stopped in others, so we’re not counting it as a major factor here. We like the neon sign in the iPhone XS Max photo the most, because it handles noise reduction the best, but there’s a lack of contrast here that makes the black wall not as black as we’d like. The Pixel 3 XL and Note 9 have the best details — look closely at the globe and you can almost make out “Mediterranean Sea” on both these photos — but the former is a tad too saturated.
The Pixel 2 XL has the most natural colors throughout, but zoom into the neon sign and it has trouble with noise reduction. The Note 9 handles the neon sign well, but there’s a lot of grain creeping in through the rest of the photo. If you look at the people in all of these photos, it’s the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 that have the least grain and offer more detail. We think the win goes to the Pixel 2 for having slightly more natural colors, because the Pixel 3 is a little more saturated. This is a tough photo to judge because they all do a solid job, but also because people are constantly moving at this stall.
Winner: Pixel 2 XL
The iPhone XS Max stands out here. It lights up the scene well, it’s not too grainy, and it’s sharp. The Pixel 3 XL and Note 9 photos are certainly moodier, but the former is blurry, and the latter cranks up the saturation too high and doesn’t light up the wall above the sign at all. The Pixel 2 XL photo is simply overexposed and grainy.
Winner: iPhone XS Max
Each of these photos have flaws, but there’s only one that simply looks stunning: the Pixel 3 XL. Zoom in on the building to the right, and you can see it clearly has the best detail of the lot, with the least grain. The colors are also wonderful. The only flaw here is the sky on the left side is just a tad overexposed. The Note 9 comes very close, but it completely masks the buildings in the foreground. The iPhone XS Max has a great sky that isn’t overexposed, but the entire photo is drenched in yellow hues and looks murky. The Pixel 2 XL photo has a bluish tint, and it overexposes the sky on the left far more than the Pixel 3. You may have a favorite look here, but we can’t stop staring at the Pixel 3 photo.
Winner: Pixel 3 XL
Let’s take out the Pixel 2 XL and Note 9 out of the running here. The Pixel 2 photo is too blurry, and the Note 9 — while sharp in some areas — loses detail in others, and it overall has too much of a strong orange hue. We think the iPhone XS Max photo has stronger detail here over the Pixel 3 XL: Look at the edges of hair around the dog and you’ll find you can identify individual hairs on the iPhone photo a little better. That being said, the iPhone XS photo is much darker.
With a bit of brightening, the iPhone XS Max photo is the strongest choice here. However, if you wanted to share a photo without any editing, the Pixel 3 is the way to go. We’re giving the iPhone XS the win here, because it has the best detail.
Winner: iPhone XS Max
Food and Portrait Mode on food
This bowl of ramen was delicious, and it’s something we had to photograph. The Pixel 3 XL takes the cake for having the best detail. Look at the bowl in the back and you’ll see it white balanced it and the wall really well. The Pixel 2 XL photo comes second, and while the colors are a little more realistic than the Pixel 3, the detail isn’t as strong. The bowl in the back is much darker, but we do like how it spreads the reflection of the neon light in the broth. The iPhone XS photo isn’t as sharp and has a lot of noise, and the Note 9 photo is sadly a bit of a joke.
Winner: Pixel 3 XL
If you try to take a Portrait Mode photo of food in not-so-great lighting, you’re going to have a very tough time with the Note 9 and iPhone XS. In fact, the Note 9 simply said it could not take a photo due to lighting conditions, which is why it’s missing here. The iPhone XS nearly didn’t make the cut, but we managed to get it to work after moving a good distance away from the bowl of ramen. The end result is decent photo, but it wasn’t the original effect we were going for. The Pixel 2 and 3 didn’t have any problems. Both are sharp, with the Pixel 3 having slightly punchier colors. We’re giving it a tie between the two here.
Winner: Pixel 3 XL and Pixel 2 XL
Portrait Mode and selfies
We’ve always found Google’s Pixel phones to have the best selfie cameras around, and that rings true here. The iPhone XS and Note 9 are knocked out easily. The iPhone photo is too soft, though it has nice colors and the best HDR work in the background. The Note 9 is also too soft, but it’s overexposed in the back, with poorer colors. It’s difficult to crown a winner between the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3, but we like the more natural colors from the newer phone. Both are equally well detailed though.
Winner: Pixel 3 XL
The Pixel 3 XL and the iPhone XS Max come very close here, but we have to address the different styles of portrait mode between the two. Apple follows a different strategy with Portrait Mode over Google. You get a radial blur, with bokeh forming around the subject’s face and getting stronger further away. Google, on the other hand, tries to get the subject entirely in focus. Apple has a more traditional approach, but we like Google’s just as much because there’s a stronger emphasis placed not just on your face, but what you’re wearing.
We’re taking out the Note 9 here because the subject’s face is blurry and overexposed. While the Pixel 2 XL does a solid job, it messes up the hair over on the left side of the face. It also adds a slightly less realistic color tone to the face. We like both the iPhone XS and Pixel 3 photo. Both have lots of detail, and you can see the radial blur circling around the subject’s face in the iPhone photo, whereas everything about the subject is in focus on the Pixel 3 photo. So why does the iPhone XS get the win? The background is better white balanced, whereas it’s more yellow in the Pixel 3 photo.
Winner: iPhone XS Max
This one’s easy. It’s a low-light photo taken with the selfie camera with Portrait Mode. Let’s take out the Pixel 2 XL for being blurry. The Note 9 is out too, as detail isn’t as strong and the background is overexposed. The iPhone XS does a great job, but it’s grainy and not as sharp or bright as the Pixel 3 XL photo, which takes the cake.
Three of these Portrait Mode photos are excellent. Can you guess the loser? Sorry Samsung, the Note 9 photo is simply too overexposed, and it has an unnatural hue. All three of the rest of the phones offer strong detail, with accurate cutouts of the subject. While the Pixel 2 XL does the best job not overexposing the light hitting the subject’s head, it comes in third for the background, which has a reddish hue. It comes down to the iPhone XS and Pixel 3 photos, and this is going to heavily rely on personal preference. We love the airy, cinematic look of the Pixel 3 photo. It brings out the character of the subject a little more than the iPhone XS photo.
All of these photos were taken standing in the same spot. The iPhone XS and Note 9 cameras just zoom in closer for Portrait Mode photos. Either the Pixel 3 or iPhone XS could win here, but we’re giving the edge to the Pixel 3.
Winner: Pixel 3 XL
Here’s another easy win for Google’s Pixel 3 XL. The iPhone XS and Note 9 asked us to step back to get Portrait Mode working, but the end results are quite poor, especially the Note 9. The iPhone XS does a little better, but it’s still dark with weak details, and some parts of the blur are messed up. The Pixel 2 does an excellent job, like the Pixel 3, but it’s a little darker. The Pixel 3 wins.
Winner: Pixel 3 XL
Google’s Pixel 3 has a nifty new feature called Super Res Zoom. Instead of adding a second camera for optical zoom, Google is using artificial intelligence to improve digital zoom by reducing noise and increasing brightness. The results are often surprising. Most of the time it can’t beat the 2x optical zoom on the Note 9 or the iPhone XS — especially in well-lit scenarios — but zoom in all the way and it’s a different story. The Pixel 2 XL will not get Super Res Zoom.
We typically don’t recommend zooming in all the way on your smartphone camera, because the results don’t often look good. Even with the Pixel 3 XL’s Super Res Zoom, don’t expect to magically get amazing photos. That being said, we’re surprised at how well some phones performed over others. The worst in this grouping is the iPhone XS Max. It’s too fuzzy overall. The Pixel 3 and Pixel 2 photos are similar with strong contrast, but the trees in the Pixel 2 photo are too dark. The Note 9, we think, does the best job here. It’s not as saturated as the Pixel 3 photo, but it manages to capture the detail in the letters of the words. Samsung nets its first win!
Winner: Galaxy Note 9
Here we test out the digital zoom on the Pixel 3 XL and Pixel 2 XL over optical zoom on the Note 9 and iPhone XS. This is a subject that was moving, so it’s tougher all around for the Pixel phones, especially since both cameras on the XS and Note 9 have optical image stabilization. We attempted a similar 2x digital zoom on the Pixel phones. We’re removing the Note 9 from the race here, because the photo is blurry. The iPhone XS does a good job, but the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 edge out with slightly more detail on the man’s left hand. The Pixel 3 goes ahead to be the overall brighter image, and wins this one.
Winner: Pixel 3 XL
The Pixel 3 is the best camera phone, at least according to this test. But keep in mind that out of its 10 wins, the margins were thin for many, and the iPhone XS was often close behind. Apple’s phone comes second with four wins, the Pixel 2 got three, and Samsung’s phone only got one. All four cameras took some stunning photos, and while have many more photos to share, we’re calling an end to this comparison for now. We’ll be taking more comparisons over the next few months and you’ll be able to find them here.
The Department of Justice has unsealed a criminal complaint against a Russian national who allegedly attempted to interfere with US elections. Originally dated to late September, it accuses a St. Petersburg-based woman named Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova of acting as the chief accountant for Project Lakhta, an expansive political influence operation that’s been mentioned in earlier indictments. This follows the indictment of several other Russian figures who allegedly conspired to manipulate the election.
According to the criminal complaint, Khusyaynova managed the budget of Project Lakhta, funded by the companies Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering — both of which were mentioned in earlier indictments. The total operating budget between January 2016 and June 2018 was allegedly $35 million, which covered activities directed at the US, Russia, the European Union, and Ukraine. Among other things, Khusyaynova allegedly coordinated payment for expenditures like “activists, advertisements on social media platforms, registration of domain names, the purchase of proxy servers, and ‘promoting news postings on social networks.’”
The complaint states that Khusyaynova kept “detailed financial documents” that outlined payments for activities meant to undermine US elections. An itemized budget covering the year leading up to January 2017, for instance, listed expenses for Instagram, Facebook, and VKontakte ads. It also included budget lines for “bloggers,” “developing accounts” on Twitter, and funding online videos. Between January and June of 2018, she submitted expenditures of roughly $60,000 for Facebook ads, $6,000 for Instagram ads, and $18,000 for bloggers and Twitter accounts. In its press release, the Justice Department thanked Facebook and Twitter for “exceptional cooperation” during the investigation.
The release coincides with a joint statement from the Justice Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence, expressing concern about “ongoing campaigns by Russia, China and other foreign actors, including Iran, to undermine confidence in democratic institutions and influence public sentiment and government policies.” The statement said that they “do not have any evidence” of any breach that would let these operations prevent voting or change vote counts, but acknowledged the threat of propaganda and disinformation during the upcoming 2018 and 2020 elections.
Today’s complaint covers some territory seen in earlier cases, including the broad strokes of Lakhta’s alleged goal: to “sow discord” in the US political system by exaggerating the presence of extreme viewpoints online and aggravating existing political divides. It provides a number of examples of this propaganda. One guidance document, for instance, emphasizes that “colored LGBT are less sophisticated than white” and are “very sensitive toward #whiteprivilege,” so posters should “be careful dealing with racial content.”
Another string of messages suggest finding ways to “brand [Sen. John] McCain as an old geezer who has lost it and who long ago belonged in a home for the elderly,” in order to discredit his criticism of Donald Trump, and to brand fellow legislator Paul Ryan as “a complete and absolute nobody incapable of any decisiveness.”
The complaint also lists some specific names of fake identities used for misinformation: “Helen Christopherson” was a supposed New York City resident who became a co-coordinator of an anti-Trump flash mob, and “Bertha Malone” was used to create over 400 inflammatory Facebook posts focused on immigration and Islam. She also created the “Stop AI” Facebook page that appeared in a list of propaganda ads released last year. Again, some of these names were already known — like “Luisa Haynes” or @wokeluisa, whose popular liberal tweets were picked up by several news agencies before her identity was discovered.
According to the complaint, net neutrality was one of the favored topics for debate, alongside gun rights, the 2018 midterm election, and negotiations with North Korea. An account with the handle @KaniJJackson reposted tweets praising Republican senators who voted for net neutrality rules and urging voters to “repeal” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for voting against them.
As before, the Justice Department emphasizes that it’s not alleging this conspiracy actually influenced the election — only that there was a coordinated attempt to do so.
Speaking purely in terms of raw numbers, Shane Dawson’s eight-part documentary on the most notorious YouTuber on the planet has been a tremendous success — in less than 24 hours, the 105-minute finale has been watched 10 million times. Some fans, however, have questioned whether Dawson truly held Jake Paul accountable for his seemingly careless treatment of former colleagues, particularly when it came to racist remarks he’s made; it’s a criticism that speaks to one of the series’ greatest — and perhaps defining — weaknesses.
At the start of the documentary, Shane Dawson establishes that he wants to be hardline about Jake Paul. This is important, Dawson suggests, because, historically, he’s acted more as a friend or confidant to his documentary subjects rather than interviewer, reporter, or skeptical party. He decides that he can’t handle Jake Paul — a creator who has been criticized for performing dangerous stunts, overly promoting merchandise to a young and impressionable audience, and abusing his former colleagues — in the same way.
“I am way too nice, way too forgiving, way too loyal, and I don’t wanna do that this time,” Dawson says in the first episode. “I want this time to, like, actually sit down in a room with him and be like, ‘This is why people don’t like you. This is what you did that was bad. I want you to tell me why you did it, be honest about it, and change your life. And fucking stop.’”
Dawson continues to hammer this point throughout his series, often playing up how tricky it will be to strike a good balance between doing his job as a documentarian and wanting to be the Nice Guy that empathizes with Jake Paul. When the pair sit down for the final interview, Dawson goes through a long list of sins that paint Jake Paul in a negative light. For each one, Paul explains his thought process and why he did what he did, and for the most part, Dawson doesn’t really push back. Instead his responses are largely sympathetic to Paul’s woes, and when he does counter them, he does so gently and unthreateningly.
For the most part, that kind of approach is Dawson’s modus operandi, one that is easy to overlook if we treat the series as a piece of entertainment. Even so, on social media Dawson’s fans are in disbelief at how he handles Paul’s explanation of a racism controversy involving former members of Team 10. Dawson’s stumbles are a consequence of his generally toothless approach to Jake Paul, one that has come to define the series, for better or worse.
Late last year, Spanish YouTubers Ivan and Emilio Martinez alleged that their departure from Jake Paul’s influencer group had been because the YouTuber had bullied them, terrorizing them with pranks like destroying their room. The brothers speak English as a second language, which, they say created a barrier between them and the rest of Team 10; the divide was regularly widened by Paul, who would allegedly make racist remarks and mock their background and heritage.
When Dawson brings this up to Jake Paul in the interview, the YouTuber denies that any physical abuse went on. All the pranks were fake, he says, and he would tell people about them in advance so they always knew what would happen. This arrangement was mutual, Paul says, and the brothers would tell him in advance of the practical jokes they’d pull on him, too. “My vlogs are like, lightly scripted,” Paul says.
Dawson only nods. He does not ask Paul if he ever gave the brothers the option to say no, or if they felt pressured to agree to whatever pranks Paul thought of, no matter how dangerous, demeaning, or uncomfortable. He does, however, ask Paul if he feels their interactions were bad enough to justify the twins’ departure.
“I think sometimes there was a language barrier when we would be joking around off-camera,” Paul admits. “Sometimes I’d see them get mad at me, but I would always try to fix it.”
Dawson then brings up the accusations of racism — the twins allege that Paul would call them “beaners,” for instance — but he immediately couches the criticism by relating to Paul’s childhood. Dawson grew up in an environment where anything could fly; if Paul grew up in similar circumstances, that would make it difficult to know when a line has been crossed.
“It was aggressive, the jokes were crazy,” says Dawson, who has come under fire for wearing blackface in the past. “It was offensive. And I’m not saying it’s good. I wouldn’t raise my kids that way, especially now. But, that’s where I came from, right? So when I started YouTube, and I started saying jokes, and I started saying things with my friends and stuff, I didn’t know it was too far.”
Jake Paul takes the out, agreeing that this was the case for him, too. He says he waded in “high school locker-type vibes” in the past; meanwhile, early footage of him on Vine mocking a Chinese accent plays onscreen. The Martinez twins, he explains, came onto his team composed of best friends who treated everything as a joke, where nothing was off-limits.
“We’d talk about each other’s moms, we’d talk about sisters, we’d diss each other,” Paul says. “And anything anyone said about me, my family, it was all just jokes … so when we’d say jokes to the Martinez twins, I think at the time they thought it was funny, but then maybe looking back on it, they were like, ‘Oh, they were like being racist.’”
Paul admits that he would call the brothers beaners, but that it was a back and forth where they would also call him a cracker, or a stupid white person. “We would just like, give [the insults] back, bros being bros,” Paul says. “And when they left, I think they used that against us. To be like, ‘They called us this and that,’ when that was the culture in that house. And they did it to us, too.”
Without questioning any of this, Dawson insists he didn’t notice that kind of culture when he was visiting the house. He only asks if Paul feels he’s changed since then.
“One hundred percent, those words wouldn’t even come out of my mouth, ‘cause … to this day, I’d be scared of someone just, even saying that I said something bad,” Paul says. “…I definitely learned from that situation, like, not everyone is gonna joke around in the same way. And even they are joking around, they might not actually be okay with that environment.”
Essentially thanking Paul for talking with him about this at all, Dawson then reassures him that it’s okay to be mad at the twins for what they’ve said about him.
Paul, for his part, says he’s still in disbelief about the brothers’ Team 10 departure, given that he discovered them, taught them English, raised them out of poverty, and brought them into the influencer fold. He claims that they’ve only accused him of racism because the controversy would help their career after leaving Team 10.
“I was, like, the first person that they would ever even feel comfortable to speak English with,” Jake says. “I don’t know. That’s why I’m mad about it.”
Most of the reception to the documentary has focused on subjects like Jake Paul’s ex-girlfriend, but for some, the dilemma with the Martinez twins has taken center stage. #ShaneDawsonisOverParty was reportedly trending on Twitter at one point; right now, if you search “Shane Dawson” on the website, it’s not a highly visible hashtag, but many top results reference the discussion of racism.
“I’m blocking ANYONE who still supports Shane Dawson after giving MULTIPLE FUCKING RACISTS a platform,” one tweet declares, likely in reference to an earlier Shane Dawson interview with Jeffree Star, a beauty YouTuber who has been criticized for using the n-word in the past.
“Shane Dawson: defending an abuser, defending racists, making platforms for all of them, loosing [sic] his shit when people call him out,” another Tweet reads.
Most tweets on the subject append some sort of video, GIF, or image that makes fun of how Dawson excuses, sympathizes, or doesn’t really critique Paul’s use of racist slurs.
Despite his refusal to apologize for making offensive jokes in the past, it’s undoubtedly a good thing that someone with Jake Paul’s reach now thinks twice before making them again. But Dawson’s insistence on being the likable good guy, no matter who he speaks to, highlights the biggest flaw with his docuseries: even if it’s entertaining and successful, it can’t deliver on his own self-imposed promise to stop being “way too nice, way too forgiving, way too loyal.” Most of all, he wants to have a good time with Jake Paul, outright saying so at one point during the series. Throughout, Dawson seems more committed to enjoying making the ill-advised documentary than he is to holding Paul accountable.
This is not a work that wants you to think critically of Jake Paul as much as it is a series that really wants you to feel bad for Jake Paul — or perhaps even give you a list of reasons to like him. By the end of it, the whole thing feels like a glorified PR stunt that will help the younger Paul brother rehabilitate his unruly image: if Shane Dawson, the charming king of YouTube, loves Jake Paul, then who are you to hate him? No wonder Jake Paul feels comfortable coinciding the relaunch of his entire brand with the end of the series, when the views of sympathetic viewers are flowing his way.
Hotels can be pricey, and and travelers are often forced to leave their rooms for basic things, like food that doesn’t come from the minibar. Yet Airbnb accommodations, which have become the go-to alternative for travelers, can be highly inconsistent.
Domio, a two-year-old, New York-based outfit, thinks there’s a third way: apartment hotels, or “apart hotels,” as the company is calling them.
The idea is to build a brand that travelers recognize as upscale yet affordable, more tech friendly than boutique hotels, and features plenty of square footage, which it expects will appeal to both families as well as companies that send teams of employees to cities and want to do it more economically.
Domio has a host of competitors, if you’ll forgive the pun. Marriott International earlier this year introduced a branded home-sharing business called Tribute Portfolio Homes wherein it says it vets, outfits and maintains homes of its choosing to hotel standards. And Marriott is among a growing number of hotels to recognize that customers who stay in a hotel for a business trip or a family vacation might prefer a multi-bedroom apartment with hotel-like amenities.
Property management companies have been raising funding left and right for the same reason. Among them: Sonder, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based startup offering “spaces built for travel and life” that, according to Crunchbase, has raised $135 million from investors, much of it this year; TurnKey, a six-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based home rental management company that has raised $72 million from investors, including via a Series D round that closed back in March; and Vacasa, a nine-year-old, Portland, Ore.-based vacation rental management company that manages more than 10,000 properties and which just this week closed on $64 million in fresh financing that brings its total funding to $207.5 million.
Whether Domio can stand out from competitors remains to be seen, but investors are happy to provide give it the financing to try. The company is today announcing that it has raised $12 million in Series A equity funding led by Tribeca Venture Partners, with participation from SoftBank Capital NY and Loric Ventures. The round comes on the heels of Domio announcing a $50 million joint venture last month with the private equity firm Upper 90 to exclusively fund the leasing and operations of as many as 25 apartment-style hotels for group travelers.
Indeed, Domio thinks one advantage it may have over other home-share companies is that rather than manage the far-flung properties of different owners, it can shave costs and improve the quality of its offerings by entering five- to 10-year leases with developers and then branding, furnishing and operating entire “apart hotel” properties. (It even has partners in China making its furniture.)
As CEO and former real estate banker Jay Roberts told us earlier this week, the plan is to open up 25 of these buildings across the U.S. over the next couple of years. The units will average 1,500 square feet and feature three bedrooms and if all goes as planned, they’ll cost 10 to 25 percent below hotel prices, too.
And if the go-go property management market turns? Roberts insists that Domio can “slow down growth if necessary.” He also notes that “Airbnb was founded out of the recession, supported by people who were interested in saving money. We’re starting to see companies that want to be more cost-effective, too.”
Domio had earlier raised $5 million in equity and convertible debt from angel investors in the real estate industry; altogether it has now amassed funding of $67 million.
Everyone knows OnePlus as the scrappy Chinese company that makes flagship Android phones and sells them for hundreds of dollars less than, say, Samsung’s Galaxy phones or Google’s Pixels.
OnePlus’s highly anticipated next-generation flagship phone, the 6T, was originally supposed to launch on Oct. 30, but now the company has moved the event date to Oct. 29, no doubt because another tech behemoth is also holding a product launch event on Oct. 30. (We’re looking at you Apple.)
If that’s not a true commitment to its biggest fans, we’re not sure what is.
Besides the potential awkwardness of having less press at its launch event because they’d have to choose between OnePlus and Apple, sticking to the original date would have meant the 6T news being swallowed up by Apple’s expected new iPad launch.
OnePlus CEO Pete Lau shared a forum post explaining in detail why they’ve moved the launch up. The short of it is: “Our goal is to make sure [the 6T] gets the time and attention it deserves.”
“When we announced the launch of the OnePlus 6T on October 8, we were convinced our timing would allow us to maximize the amount of people we could reach with our message,” says Lau. That changed when Apple announced they would be hosting their own event on October 30.”
Lau says the company spoke to some press and were told they’d be “overshadowed by Apple” if they stuck to their original launch date.
Potentially lost press coverage and attendance aside, he pays respect to OnePlus’s community, offering full refunds to anyone who has been inconvenienced by the change and can’t make it.
“Everyone who owns a ticket will be able to apply for a full refund for their ticket,” says Lau. “If you’re still able to join our event, first of all: Thank you! We will cover any costs you might incur to change your plans. If you need to pay to move your flight, we’ve got your back. Same goes for those of you who booked a hotel or made other arrangements. Our team will be getting in touch with all ticket owners individually to help you out.”
OnePlus’s launch date change is one of the few times any company has openly acknowledged it’d be overshadowed by Apple. It’s the company recognizing its current place in the industry and not letting arrogance cloud its products or messaging.
The new launch event will kick off on Oct. 29 at 11 a.m. ET.
Some of the world’s most ambitious transportation projects are currently propped up by billions of dollars from Saudi Arabia, an authoritarian regime that is facing new scrutiny following its alleged role in the brutal killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Billions more have come from SoftBank’s Vision Fund, the Japanese tech conglomerate’s $100 billion investment arm, of which Saudi Arabia has contributed $45 billion.
The investments are part of a mighty push from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the nation’s de facto ruler, to diversify Saudi Arabia away from oil. And until now, the money has seemingly been welcomed with open arms, despite Saudi Arabia’s previous high-profile rights abuses, and the company’s long-standing (but recently-lifted) ban on women drivers. But bin Salman’s suspected role in Khashoggi’s death is raising new questions about these companies’ ties to his regime, the prospect of future investments of similar scale, and the risk of potential sanctions on this suddenly ubiquitous source of funding.
At least one company has taken action in response to the killing: Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. In the fallout of Khashoggi’s killing, Branson “temporarily suspended” a $1 billion investment from PIF that was supposed to help fund his varying spaceflight efforts, and Saudi Arabia has reportedly canceled a deal with the billionaire’s nascent hyperloop transportation company.
Virgin is so far the lone public example, though, and it’s possible that the company remains peerless in this respect. “I think at this point in time, most firms aren’t going to make this into a major issue,” Anthony Cordesman, who holds the Burke chair in strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, tells The Verge. Stockholder anxiety, or perhaps prolonged media focus on Khashoggi’s death, could lead some to follow Branson’s lead, he says. But Cordesman otherwise thinks it’s more likely that companies will only back away from Saudi Arabia temporarily, if they even do that.
So far, that seems to be the move. Uber has received more direct investment money from Saudi Arabia than practically any other American company. The PIF poured $3.5 billion into the ride-hailing giant in 2016, taking a 5 percent stake and a seat on its board of directors in exchange. SoftBank also has a $7.7 billion stake in Uber. While that investment was originally made by SoftBank itself, the company has reportedly discussed flipping the stake to the Vision Fund. It’s also considered doing the same with the sizable stakes it holds in some of Uber’s strongest competition, like China’s Didi, or India’s Ola, though it’s unclear if SoftBank ever transferred these holdings. If it did, or does, all of these companies would wind up connected to PIF thanks to its huge backing of the Vision Fund.
A spokesperson for Uber did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said last week that he was “very troubled by the reports to date about Jamal Khashoggi,” and that the company was “following the situation closely.” Khosrowshahi said that “unless a substantially different set of facts emerges, I won’t be attending the FII conference in Riyadh.”
PIF bought a $2 billion stake in Tesla earlier this year, though that was on the open market. But Saudi Arabia was also in discussions to make an even bigger play to help take Tesla private again, Elon Musk revealed in August. Tesla’s CEO held multiple meetings with PIF representatives, and said he had “no question that a deal with the Saudi sovereign fund could be closed, and that it was just a matter of getting the process moving.” But a deal never materialized, even though he publicized the plan in August with his now-infamous “funding secured” tweet, which eventually sparked an SEC investigation, a securities fraud lawsuit, and a settlement.
Lucid Motors has not issued any statement since the death of Khashoggi. And CTO Peter Rawlinson might still appear at next week’s Future Investment Initiative conference, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, despite a growing list of people and businesses who have backed out. Arianna Huffington, Dara Khosrowshahi, Richard Branson, and Ford chairman Bill Ford have all said they won’t go, and CNN, The New York Times, Bloomberg, Financial Times, CNBC, and Fox Business have dropped out as media partners. When asked whether Rawlinson still plans to attend, a spokesperson for Lucid Motors said “we have no comment.”
Meanwhile, the Vision Fund’s investments in Silicon Valley aren’t technically coming directly from Saudi Arabia. But the nation’s 45 percent stake gives it a lot of sway, and makes it hard for companies to distance themselves, should they want to. “We are the creators of SoftBank vision fund,” bin Salman said in a recent Bloomberg interview. “Without the PIF, there will be no SoftBank Vision Fund.”
Cruise Automation, the self-driving car company that General Motors bought in 2016, is one of the highest-profile Vision Fund investments after Uber. It received a $2.25 billion promise from the SoftBank Vision Fund earlier this year. (A representative for Cruise did not respond to a request for comment.) The Vision Fund also owns a $5 billion stake inNvidia, which has become a huge player in the automotive industry thanks to its advanced suite of self-driving chips — though that investment originally came from SoftBank itself and was later transferred to the Vision Fund after the fact, which the company pointed out in a statement to The Verge.
In that same interview, bin Salman said he planned to commit a similar amount of money to the next SoftBank Vision Fund. But SoftBank has already distanced itself — albeit slightly — from Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi’s murder. SoftBank’s chief operating officer said at a conference in California on Thursday that “there is no certainty” a second Vision Fund will be launched, adding that the company is “anxiously looking at what is happening” with regards to Khashoggi’s death.
Working with potentially tainted money, Cordesman says, is “business as usual in a good part of the developing world.” The gruesome details of Khashoggi’s murder, and the way that Turkey has seemingly fanned the flames despite its own wretched human rights record, have elevated the story to an international level. But despite Saudi Arabia’s wealth, size, and strategic importance, Cordesman says, the country’s past human rights transgressions have not interfered with high-value investments, and there’s no reason to think it will change this time around. “It’s not an issue normally where something like this has a lasting impact. People ride out the crest of publicity and business tends to go on as usual,” he says.
The fervent pace of investment from the Saudi PIF and SoftBank Vision Fund has also propped up the valuations of many of these companies, and at the same time made it hard for more traditional funding sources (like venture capital firms) to keep up. With companies like Uber now facing a potential $120 billion public offering, thanks in no small part to the money it’s received from Saudi Arabia, turning back now — even in the name of human rights — would mean sacrificing what Silicon Valley values most: growth.
There’s never any shortage of ways to get rid of your old smartphone — especially if it’s in good condition. You could trade it in at a carrier, sell it on eBay, or find a third-party buyer. But the key question is: How can you get the highest value possible?
While selling your Pixel or Pixel 2 can significantly offset the cost of a new device (the new $799 Pixel 3, for instance), it’s hard to know what route to choose. Options like selling it directly to a buyer might seem a little risky, while trading in a device may not provide you with the highest payout. It’s all a bit overwhelming and time-consuming. Thankfully, we’re here to help with that. Below is a comprehensive guide to selling your Pixel or Pixel 2, as well as how much you can expect to earn from the sale.
Trade it in
One of the simplest, and thus most appealing, options is to trade in your Pixel through Verizon and Project Fi (the exclusive U.S. carriers), Google’s own website, or stores like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and GameStop. However, this will only provide you with credit, not cash — so it will help you with the price of the new device, but won’t give you the freedom to do whatever you like with the proceeds of your sale. Still, it’s an easy way to get rid of your device. Additionally, while it might not be the most lucrative way to get rid of your old phone, the compensation is more than reasonable in most cases.
To get the credit, you’ll need to either bring your Pixel into a store or go through an online process in which you evaluate the condition and worth of your device. If it’s got a cracked screen or other issues, the value drops precipitously, but there’s no point lying since they’ll easily find out and cancel the credit. Before you hand it in or send it off, just make sure you’ve backed up all your data and wiped your phone.
Sell it via an online marketplace
Selling your phone directly to another person takes more time, but can be more financially rewarding. It depends greatly on the market environment when you put your Pixel up for sale, though, which is in itself an ever-changing thing. The best time to sell your phone is generally before a new generation comes out, but since that’s not possible with Pixel 2, you’ll have a bit of competition. Still, there are plenty of people looking for inexpensive Pixel 2s following the Pixel 3 launch (especially the notch haters out there), so it shouldn’t be too hard to find an interested buyer.
On Craigslist and eBay, you can set your own asking price. It’s worth it to put a little extra time into making your listing well-written with appealing photos — you’ll gain buyer trust and get higher offers. Make sure that you account for shipping so that you don’t end up with an unimpressive net amount. If you’re handing the device off in-person instead, make sure that you keep in mind basic safety precautions. Meet in a public space, or with a friend. Also, make sure all your data is scrubbed off the device.
For the risk-adverse, Swappa is an even better choice. It’s an online marketplace dedicated to mobile devices where each ad is verified by Swappa staff. You’ll have to go through a few extra steps of verification, there’s an added sale fee, and you’ll have to send the device out within two days if it’s purchased, but those are reasonable hoops to jump through for a little more peace of mind.
Sell it to a company
If you’d rather skip interacting with individual buyers as much as possible, there are several companies that make the process easier by buying up old smartphones (and subsequently reselling them). Among the most trustworthy options are Gazelle, uSell, Decluttr, and Glyde, which is a hybrid between a marketplace and an electronics purchasing site. As with trade-ins or Swappa, you’ll have to go through an appraisal process before the company makes an offer, then your site of choice will provide a postage-paid packing label for you to send the device away. Once the company has received it and verified the condition, you’ll receive your cut through PayPal or check.
How much is your old Pixel worth?
Now that you have all the options, let’s take a look at how they stack up, price-wise, with a few Pixel and Pixel 2 models. Keep in mind the following caveats: this information is accurate as of the time of publication — October 19, 2018 — and is based on the values provided for good condition Pixels with base levels of internal storage and the original charger (if the site asks for it).
The eBay prices listed are averages based on data from Bidvoy, while Glyde’s numbers are recommended listing prices, not guaranteed sales amounts.
Google Store/Project Fi: $119
Pixel XL (32GB)
Verizon: $135 (note: yes, it is lower than the smaller Pixel — we double checked)
Google Store/Project Fi: $130
Pixel 2 (64GB)
Google Store/Project Fi: $300
Best Buy: $180 (before potential in-store promo value, which varies)
Pixel 2 XL (64GB)
Google Store/Project Fi: $325
Best Buy: $200 (before potential in-store promo value, which varies)
Wipe your data. This point is worth reiterating because so much important information is stored on your mobile device. You really don’t want it to fall into the wrong hands. To completely erase personal info from your old Pixel, you can head to Settings > System > Reset options > Erase all data (factory reset). Just make sure to get everything you want off your device first, or back it up to the cloud.
Do a thorough multi-site comparison. It doesn’t take long to browse each of the sites mentioned above to find the best price, or, if you’re strapped for time, you can also check out Flipsy, a handy comparison tool.
Keep future trades/sales in mind. The better you take care of your new phone — for instance, by purchasing insurance, a case, and/or a screen protector — the higher your eventual trade-in or resale value is if you want to undergo this process again in the future.
As for getting the best price on your new phone — take a look at our buying guides. Hopefully, with the credit or cash you earn from letting go of your old Pixel, you can get the shiny new device you’ve been hoping for at a reasonable price.