Eight years ago, Google's search and user experience chief Marissa Mayer promised there would never be banner ads on the Google homepage or Web search results pages. Now, it seems, Google may be doing just that.
Google is now testing banner ads, complete with images, on its search results with 30 U.S. advertisers that "can take over large parts of the screen," according to the Guardian. Google confirmed that it was a limited test.
In 2005, Mayer wrote
on the Official Google Blog that the banner ads would never clutter Google's clean homepage or search results, "There will not be crazy, flashy, graphical doodads flying and popping up all over the Google site. Ever."
Google's homepage is notoriously spare, and its founders were known for turning down a $3 million ad from Visa to show an ad on its homepage in 2000. While Google didn't say it was testing ads on its homepage, showing banner ads at all is a change stemming from reduced ad prices. In order for Google to make money on ads, Google has to sell more wherever and whenever it can, and it's not likely to be pretty.