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Google insists that it hasn't made up its mind yet about this "small experiment"

Twitter users began buzzing yesterday about something strange they had encountered.  They had gone to search on the world's most used search engine -- Google Inc. (GOOG) -- only to be greeted with glaring visual banner ads.  

A Google spokesperson confirmed to Search Engine Land later in the day that the company was testing "a small experiment", pushing out large banner ads that filled up most of the initial screen real estate, when users completed a search.  Search Engine Land speculates that Google is pushing the ads in response to very specific searches (e.g. the name of a company or product) and is testing the click-through response to try to decide whether they're worth broadly rolling out.  The ads are reportedly reaching about 5 percent of users who search on a selected terms from the 30 brands who have partnered with Google in the trial.

Partner brands include Southwest Airlines Comp. (LUV) (see below), Otto GmbH subsidiary Crate & Barrel, and Virgin Group Ltd.'s subsidiary Virgin America.

The ads don't resort to some of the most extreme advertising tactics (e.g. popups upon mouse-over), but they are a jarring site amidst Google's traditionally minimalist search page.  While Google's chief U.S. search rival Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) (whose mined data also powers Yahoo! Inc.'s (YHOO) search engine) has gone all out with a search results page layout rich in media, Google typically only shows text, which a majority of users seem to prefer (as it makes for faster filtering of undesirable hits).
Former Google VP Marissa Mayer -- now Yahoo! Inc.'s CEO -- wrote in 2005:

There will be no banner ads on the Google homepage or web search results pages. There will not be crazy, flashy, graphical doodads flying and popping up all over the Google site. Ever.

Now users are calling new CEO Larry Page (who replaced Eric Schmidt last year) and Google in general for breaking its promise almost a decade later:

Broken promises

Google is enjoying record profits, but having seen its stock recently cross the $1,000 USD/share threshold it is eyeing more aggressive advertising tactics to try leverage its dominant market share in the mobile, email, and search markets.  It already recently stirred up controversy by stuffing Gmail users' inboxes with fake advertising emails designed to look like normal messages, a change which it rolled out to Android, albeit in slightly less offensive form (by pushing the messages to a special "promotional" folder).

Larry Page
Google's new CEO Larry Page seems more concerned about profits than his predecessors promises, which is pleasing to shareholders but could hurt Google's image. [Image Source: Bloomberg BusinessWeek]

Now Google has yet another controversy on its hands.  The real question, though, is whether these banner ads -- potentially a lucrative moneymaker -- are a dealbreaker for users of Google Search.  If the public will put up with them, Google appears intent on pushing the envelope, so don't be surprised to see this "experiment" evolve into a full fledged marketing strategy.

Sources: SynrgyHQ on Twitter, Google [2005 promise], Search Engine Land

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RE: People learn...
By Reclaimer77 on 10/25/2013 9:11:32 AM , Rating: 2
The issue is people have decided providing free services isn't enough. Google needs to do it without making a profit.

When it comes to Google sadly the the outspoken minority makes the tech community look like selfish loudmouthed entitled idiots. Complaining about adds on free services, a first world problem if there ever was.

RE: People learn...
By kyuuketsuki on 10/25/2013 12:31:40 PM , Rating: 2
They've been making profits just fine without this. This offers no benefit to the end user, and in fact is obtrusive and obscures non-promoted search results. Why SHOULD anyone except Google's executives or ad agencies like this, exactly?

RE: People learn...
By Reclaimer77 on 10/25/2013 1:16:34 PM , Rating: 2
You don't contribute any of your income to Google, you have little right to complain about their profits.

If its that big of a deal, use something else. Just stop the childish whining for fuks sake!! Nobody is asking you to accept a goddamn thing.

RE: People learn...
By troysavary on 10/25/13, Rating: -1
RE: People learn...
By Reclaimer77 on 10/25/2013 3:37:56 PM , Rating: 2
Once again showing you have the intellect of a snail.

RE: People learn...
By troysavary on 10/26/13, Rating: -1
RE: People learn...
By Reclaimer77 on 10/26/2013 6:54:01 AM , Rating: 2
You're attaching WAY more emotion to my posts than I ever truly conveyed. Emotional breakdown? That's just nonsense.

It takes just as much "emotional attachment" to bash Google as to point out reality. But you don't have a problem with the bashers. Oh unless it's against Windows Phone or a Microsoft product.

Maybe we're more alike than you think? I know, shudder the thought!

RE: People learn...
By mindless1 on 10/26/2013 4:19:09 PM , Rating: 2
Actually I do. I bear the cost of company advertising when I buy products. Google makes money off advertising to ME if I use their service.

As a consumer of their service that they get paid to show ads to, I have monetary value to them the same as if I was a direct revenue stream instead.

RE: People learn...
By Reclaimer77 on 10/25/2013 1:22:09 PM , Rating: 2
Oh and Bing costs Microsoft about a billion a year in losses. So no, I don't think Google would be just fine if you whiners had your way.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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