Less than a week after we reported that Google is testing out large banner ads on certain search result pages, Microsoft has announced that it is experimenting with a very similar concept in Windows 8.1's Bing Smart Search.
Luckily, these aren't your ordinary, annoying banner ads that largely get in the way of content and colorfully congratulate you on miraculously winning $36 trillion. Instead, it seems both Google and Bing are trying to blur the lines between ads and content, thus integrating the ads directly within the results.
For instance, if you search in Bing Smart Search for something specific like a Land Rover vehicle, you'll get a giant sponsored result from Land Rover with a large image and relevant links to explore a car or get a quote. This is demonstrated in the screenshot above. It's not a terrible idea because a good chunk of people searching for specific brands are likely interested in content being provided directly by those brands, whether sponsored or not. However, Microsoft should be careful not to place these ads on too many results pages for non-specific queries.
One difference between Google's banner ads and what Microsoft is calling Bing's "Hero ads" is that the Hero ads won't show up on bing.com — only in Bing Smart Search on Windows 8.1. If you use the main Bing website often, you won't come by the ads, unlike if you were to use Google's website. On the flip side, some people don't like the idea of having to pay for a copy of Windows and then still seeing ads baked into the OS.
Source: The Verge | Image via Microsoft