Claire Cain Miller, a week ago on the New York Times’ Bits blog:
On Wednesday, Google confirmed that it was testing new ads with images atop search results. They are 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.
These ads push actual non-sponsored Google results to the bottom 12% of an HD-resolution browser window.
Lame. Guess I’ll just switch to Bing, then?
Microsoft Bing is piloting a new form of search advertising in Windows 8.1 — allowing advertisers to promote themselves with bold photography, custom links and other visual elements when users search for the names of their brands.
And you read that right: these are ads within Windows. Microsoft wants to thank you for spending $120 or more on Windows by showing you ads.
These Bing ads will only show for Windows 8.1 users, but if Google brings these ads to more users, I’d be willing to bet Microsoft will bring banner ads to Bing on the web, too. I certainly hope that these ads don’t make their way into Siri.