After a few Google search users noticed that for certain web searches oddly large and unfamiliar banner ads were popping up on the results page, the Internet giant has now confirmed it is testing these ads with a small percent of its user base. A spokesperson for Google calls it "a small experiment."
The screenshot above of one of the brands being advertised was tweeted by @SynrgyHQ, which later learned from Google that approximately 30 brands are signed up for this advertising test. However, the percentage of users who are currently seeing these ads is currently at less than 5 percent. Additionally, they only show up when you are searching for something specifically relevant to the brand, as seen above.
What's interesting about all of this is just under 8 years ago, Google pretty clearly promised that something like this would never happen. On the official Google blog, none other than Marissa Mayer 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."
Mayer has since left Google to become the president and CEO of Yahoo! It's also worth noting that Eric Schmidt was CEO at the time the blog post was published but stepped down in 2011.
So if these banner ads get out of the testing and made standard, Google will essentially have broken its promise. While the company is far from unfamiliar with advertising in search results, this marks the first time it is considering image-based ads in searches. Lately it seems like Google is willing to put ads just about anywhere.
Source: Search Engine Land | Image via Search Engine Land