Google will now start including celebrity endorsements in its search results -- its paid search results, that is.
That means the top results in a shaded area, usually a paid advertisement, might also be endorsed by celebrities like Kim Kardashian or Charlie Sheen, according to PCMag. Search Engine Land first reported the news at the SMX Conference East, where Google's head of social advertising Christian Oestlien showed off the new feature.
I’m apparently one of the users who can see the celebrity endorsements as they apply to paid ads. The screenshot above is from a Google search for "kardashian collection sears," which includes an annotation that Khloe Kardashian has endorsed an ad about the Kardashian clothing line at Sears.
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Oestlien said the goal of the program is to let celebrities have more control of their brand. "Some advertisers use celebrity endorsement in their ads. This test extends the option of celebrity endorsement to online campaigns," a Google spokesman told the Guardian. "We're always testing new ways to make advertising more compelling to our users and advertisers."
The idea is that the endorsements are meant to be part of Google+, Google's social network, where users can recommend search results to friends with a "+1."
The celebrity endorsements are made only in paid search results, but it's unknown how much of an impact they will have on users. If Khloe or Kim Kardashian endorse their new collection at Sears, does that make more of an impact than the ad itself? We think not, but it does give celebrities some power over their brand, and Google has been courting celebrities for months now. This, combined with its powerful Google Search, could make Google+ more attractive to them.