In a Major Departure, Google Shows Banner Ads in Search Results

Online ads have, perhaps, peaked.

Claire Cain Miller:

Google’s search engine was once characterized by its simplicity — both its search results and ads were blue links against a white background. No longer.

On Wednesday, Google confirmed that it was testing banner ads atop search results, a major departure from its earlier advertising and from its past promises to users.

The banner ads are part of an experiment involving several advertisers, including Southwest Airlines, that has been running on desktop computers in the United States for about a week, according to a person with knowledge of the ads. They come as Google battles a slowing desktop search business and falling ad prices.

Google: 2005 vs 2013.