Like a politician who completely forgets promises the second they get into office, Google has done the old switcheroo on a 2005 promise to never run banner ads in search results. At the time, Marisa Mayer was the Vice-President of Search Products and User Experience at Google, and she wrote in a blog post that Google would never run banner ads on their home page or on search result pages. Mayer is now CEO of Yahoo, so perhaps Google figure she made the promise, let her keep it.
This move is one of many at present, with Instagram introducing ads this week and ditching the ability to switch off auto play of videos – autoplay advertising videos are undoubtedly the next step. Facebook has been putting advertising in their Newsfeed for ages and Twitter has just joined the advertising party. Google too has introduced ads in both Gmail and Maps already, so adding the world's most popular search engine to the revenue stream should come as no surprise. After all, almost all of Google's revenue comes from advertizing.
But, as Mayer said eight years ago in the blog post:
"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."
Seems like ''ever'' is only eight years. A web marketing app company by the name of Synrgy first caught some screenshots of a huge Southwest Airlines banner ad atop a search results page. It seems at this point that only advertising pertinent to the actual search terms is displayed, but either way, this move is not going to be popular with users. Google has confirmed the banner ad experiment, but says it is a ''very limited'' test only operating in America at present.
Have you seen these banner ads yet? What do you think about the increasing monetization of previously ''free'' services like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google?