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Google Blurring Distinction Between Ads and Organic Search Results 187

jfruh writes "For years, paid links returned from Google search queries have been set off from 'real' search results by their placement on the page and by a colored background. But some users have begun to see a different format for these ads: a tiny yellow button that reads 'AD' at the end of the link is the only distinguishing feature. Google is notoriously close-mouthed about this sort of thing, but it may begin rolling the new format out to more users soon."
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Google Blurring Distinction Between Ads and Organic Search Results

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  • Search poisoning (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sinij ( 911942 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @09:01AM (#46481689)
    If they start poisoning search with for-profit results Google will be quickly reminded that they are not the only search engine in town.

    I don't know what they are thinking, but there is no brand loyalty for any web service. There is only usability and convenience. Sure, Google is convenient, but if they take a dump on usability #2 search engine will laugh all the way to the bank.
  • Re:Slippery slope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @09:38AM (#46481967) Homepage Journal

    Did you actually click the link? If anything the paid results are more obvious in my opinion. There's a bright yellow icon marking them out explicitly as "ADS" versus a light grey border labeled euphemistically "sponsored results". This is, at most, a step to the side, not a step backwards.

    That's what I thought, too.

    Heck, personally speaking I find the new ADS icon a lot easier to notice than the background-color-ever-so-slightly-different-than-the-non-ad-background-colors they used in the past.

    Also, if you want to see an example of actual shady behavior regarding ads, go over to and click the "News" link. about every third or fourth "article" in the feed is an advertisement, but apparently the marketing drones over there allow advertisers to make their ads look exactly like the other news feed items.

  • by cheesybagel ( 670288 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @09:58AM (#46482163)

    Regardless it looks like crap. Altavista went into a downward spiral for precisely this reason. It used to be great but it stopped being great when you had to sift thought one and sometimes two pages of ads before actually getting to the result you actually wanted.

    If Google doesn't deliver the results people are searching for easily we will just switch search engine again.

  • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @10:54AM (#46482779)

    GP can suppress the link and the ad. No-script is more powerful than just turning off all JavaScript.

    Sure. But then if they want to actually shop for something they have to revert back to normal. A pain in just to avoid seeing something.

    I'm more inclined to think some of these folk have some anger issues they need to deal with.

    All I do is see the little yellow box that reads "Ad". And if I'm not shopping, I don't click on it,

    These folk see that, and they want Google to go out of business for forcing that little yellow box on them, and for having the unmitigated gall to allow businesses to post their evil goods for sale.

  • by ZahrGnosis ( 66741 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @11:05AM (#46482889) Homepage

    I consider it an overreaction because the reaction is more against the change rather than to the impact of the change itself. I, for one, prefer the new mechanism. The main reason is that I found the grey boxes and light lines difficult to discern, particularly on poorly calibrated monitors (including some of my own -- I tend to prefer a high monitor temperature that mutes the contrast there).

    The big yellow "Ad" symbol is much easier for me to identify. The yellow stands out. It's not garish; they could certainly make it MORE visible, but again, for me, personally, the yellow is easier to spot than the grey, and I consider it an improvement. Yes, I'd probably have preferred that they do both.

    Anyway, I'm sure people will disagree, but people disagree on any change... it's not the end of the world. Ads are still labeled and people will get used to it then complain about the next change. That's why it's an overreaction.

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!