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Google Blurring Distinction Between Ads and Organic Search Results

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the you-will-be-notified-which-results-are-ads-in-6-months dept.

Advertising 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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Do not overreacht please (0)

Barryke (772876) | about 5 months ago | (#46481615)

I see weirder A/B tests flash by on a monthly basis at the least. They never get rolled out as seen in these experiments.

Re:Do not overreacht please (2)

drinkmoreyuengling (2768737) | about 5 months ago | (#46481869)

Did you even bother to look? There's no overreachtion here. I just ran the same query and saw the same thing. It's not an A/B test, and it's been this way for a while.

Re:Do not overreacht please (5, Insightful)

ZahrGnosis (66741) | about 5 months ago | (#46482889)

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.

Re:Do not overreacht please (1)

bulled (956533) | about 5 months ago | (#46481923)

heh, you must be new here. Overreation and car analogies are what powers /.

Re:Do not overreacht please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482065)

So they finally upgraded from running the server off of the treadmill hooked up to APK's cage?

Re:Do not overreacht please (4, Insightful)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 5 months ago | (#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.

Re:Do not overreacht please (2)

Merk42 (1906718) | about 5 months ago | (#46482361)

It's not increasing the number of ads, just how they are displayed.

Re:Do not overreacht please (1)

bigpat (158134) | about 5 months ago | (#46482535)

Bingo. A lot of people forget that Google was several years late to the search engine business. Google gained where other search "engines" decided to replace real results with paid placements. I recall a meeting with Lycos where a first page placement in their "search results" would cost $10k.

Slippery slope (2, Informative)

geeper (883542) | about 5 months ago | (#46481633)

They've been on the slippery slope for a while now. Not exactly evil, but not forthcoming either.

Re:Slippery slope (4, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | about 5 months ago | (#46481651)

I'm one of the users seeing this. The ads are still obvious to me - I assumed that they did it to make the site more mobile-friendly, but it could be a downward slide down your slope.

Re:Slippery slope (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481699)

tbh I find them more obvious than their traditional ads. And more obvious makes them more annoying...

Re:Slippery slope (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 months ago | (#46481771)

As long as there is some distinction between the two kinds of links, shouldn't it be possible to use something like Greasemonkey to distinguish them visually?

Re:Slippery slope (5, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 5 months ago | (#46481837)

Just did this with stylish [mozilla.org] . Each of the ads are all within an "li" element with the class "ads-ad". Just add a custom style sheet such as the following and all the ads are not shown. Of course, you can add different styles to make them display differently if you want, but hiding them is also a good idea.

@-moz-document domain(www.google.com) {
li.ads-ad{
display: none;
}
}

Re:Slippery slope (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 months ago | (#46482111)

Ah, so it's even easier. My idea was that Greasemonkey would you full algorithmic control over the detection process, but yes, as long as Google doesn't try to be so cunning as to make it vastly more difficult and keeps the distinct structure, a CSS tweak will be simpler to implement.

Re:Slippery slope (4, Informative)

NIK282000 (737852) | about 5 months ago | (#46481659)

Their business is to get people to click some links more often than they click others, there is nothing strange about this. Not to mention you have to be braindead not to notice the big yellow "Ad" button, there is nothing evil about getting free clicks out of people to dumb or lazy to read the entire link before they click it.

Re:Slippery slope (1)

drinkmoreyuengling (2768737) | about 5 months ago | (#46481879)

True, but if the business is to trick you into clicking the paid link instead of the algo link, then why don't we just be honest about it and go back to paid placement?

Re:Slippery slope (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about 5 months ago | (#46482179)

if the business is to trick you into clicking the paid link

Google will pretty much hunt you down and kill you outright if you do something like that with their ads on your own site, so I seriously doubt that that is what their m.o. is. The new bright yellow ad sticker, in front of the url many users will scan when deciding if a link is relevant, is a far cry better than their old almost-white background for ads.

Odd. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482559)

there is nothing evil about getting free clicks out of people to dumb or lazy

Is it psychopathy which causes this sort of attitude? I've never really understood it.

Re:Slippery slope (2)

paazin (719486) | about 5 months ago | (#46482893)

there is nothing evil about getting free clicks out of people to dumb or lazy to read the entire link before they click it.

Just like there is nothing evil about throwing mountains of legalese inside a EULA before you are able to use a piece of software?

Re:Slippery slope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481733)

Haha it's hilarious that this became a story. Really.

At least Google has a "Ad" notifier. If you really want to see ads blatantly disguised as fact, if you want to see "facts" that are bought and paid for, "independent" and "scientific" studies conducted by people on the payroll of the sponsoring corporation, "regulators" who own stock or otherwise have ties to the corporation, a media that gets over 3/4ths of its advertising from these companies so it won't expose them (c.f. Fox BGh lawsuit), and worse ... check out the pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device, and big food industries.

So far the online search industries have NOTHING on them.

Re:Slippery slope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481855)

We need to start doing micro-payments properly. Maybe you could opt to be billed an extra amount of your choice every month for your internet - for example, $10/month.

Then you can choose to spend $1 a month for ad-free Google and all related services, $1 a month for ad-free Facebook etc.

If there is a small site you really like, you can give them $1 a month too.

There's a limit to how much money can be gained from online advertising.

Re:Slippery slope (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#46481943)

There's a limit to how much money can be gained from online advertising.

If that limit is anything like Google's limit, I'll happily take it. Basically they're an advertising company with a search engine service. I'm fine with that, as long as the ads are clearly ads, and don't take up half my computer's resources and open security holes (here's looking at you Flash). When I'm looking to buy something, I even find the ads useful. Advertising is fine - surreptitious tracking is another thing.

Re:Slippery slope (1, Troll)

plopez (54068) | about 5 months ago | (#46481865)

This is what happens when a company goes public. Despite any good intentions the founders, CEOs, and board members; Wall Stree with its immoral eye on profits at any cost ends up calling the shots. Google is well on the way to becoming just another "Evil Empire".

Re:Slippery slope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482325)

Please stop. Google is not the victim here. They willingly decided to go public. They knew what was involved more than anyone else in their position. Teh Ebil Wahl Streetz doesn't force anyone's hand.

Re:Slippery slope (5, Informative)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 5 months ago | (#46481889)

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.

Re:Slippery slope (5, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 5 months ago | (#46481967)

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 Yahoo.com 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.

Re:Slippery slope (1)

kukulcan (1440401) | about 5 months ago | (#46482331)

This. Wish i had mod points to mod you up.

Re:Slippery slope (1)

turning in circles (2882659) | about 5 months ago | (#46482685)

Point of fact, when I run the browser with Adblock on it, I don't see any of the new Google ads, I just see some white space. I have a different browser without Adblock that I use to watch network TV online, so I know where the ads would be. No argument with me, Google is evil, but now it seems easier to block ads on Google than it used to be.

Re:Slippery slope (0, Troll)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 5 months ago | (#46482061)

Google *is* evil - and greedy. I use their search engine for one thing only: looking for commercial vendor sites to purchase something. They're good for that. For anything else - fun, interesting non-commercial things, there are better search engines out there. DDG, Blekko... heck even Bing come to mind.

It's ok (2)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 5 months ago | (#46481653)

Being a non profit non evil organisation does not mean that they can't have a few ad's here n there ..

Re:It's ok (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481709)

They are for profit. Or did you miss the whole their stock is traded at rather high prices thing. They just offer a lot for free, because that's the best way to keep the market share they have, oh and the fact they already make lots and lots of money without charging people for most of what they do.

WTF (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481681)

When did Slashdot become "News for your mom"?

That "tiny yellow button" is pretty fucking obvious. Anyone who is not a retard, or your mom, would know it's a paid link.

This is a non-issue. And another indicator of how editors are too busy doing other things than to work on posting good content here.

Re:WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481735)

Easy, /. became news for your mom when dice bought it.

Re:WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481857)

Came here to say this, though not with as much sarcasm. You nailed it though; the yellow "Ad" graphic is a welcome replacement to the nearly invisible background of the current ad scheme. I've found myself nearly clicking on ads because there isn't enough contrast between the ad background and the rest of the page. With this it will be easy to avoid clicking ads. I hope Google doesn't realize this though, or the new format won't last long.

dkj

Re:WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482203)

Think Larry, Sergey, and Eric with don't read Slashdot? :D

Search poisoning (2, Insightful)

sinij (911942) | about 5 months ago | (#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:Search poisoning (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#46481711)

If they start poisoning search with for-profit results Google will be quickly reminded that they are not the only search engine in town.

As long as the ads are marked somehow, a user script will be able to suppress them.

It's sad I need to mangle the web to make it usable, but not as sad as not having a mangling facility would be.

Re:Search poisoning (2)

causality (777677) | about 5 months ago | (#46481911)

If they start poisoning search with for-profit results Google will be quickly reminded that they are not the only search engine in town.

As long as the ads are marked somehow, a user script will be able to suppress them.

It's sad I need to mangle the web to make it usable, but not as sad as not having a mangling facility would be.

As someone who runs NoScript, Adblock Plus and various other user scripts, I think it's a good thing to be able to take control over your own experience. It's good not to be passive. It's good to see only what you want to see. The more people do this, the more these companies have to comprehend that this is the nature of the network in which they have chosen to participate. The Web would lose most of its appeal to me if it were entirely corporate controlled like television.

What's really sad is that other mediums like television, radio, and periodicals are one-to-many, heavily centralized, and don't include such great control over what you see. They're package deals that require you to accept the crap along with the content and are often not worthwhile.

Re:Search poisoning (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482769)

Yeah people shouldn't be able to pay their bills with ads. Everything should be free for me! Gimme gimme gimme!

Re:Search poisoning (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 5 months ago | (#46481951)

As long as the ads are marked somehow, a user script will be able to suppress them.

It's sad I need to mangle the web to make it usable, but not as sad as not having a mangling facility would be.

Let me get this straight - you don't want to see ads, so you want to suppress a little yellow box that is warning you that if you follow the link that says you'll be looking at an ad.

I guess you just want to be outraged when you go to a site and find out it was an advertisement, instead of a little warning that you might see something you don't want to see, and therefore you don't click on it. Then you don't get outraged. Damn Google anyhow!

Re:Search poisoning (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 5 months ago | (#46482205)

Its a search engine. I type keywords and expect certain results. If what I get instead are meaningless ads I'll start using a different service.

Re:Search poisoning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482621)

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

Re:Search poisoning (3, Insightful)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 5 months ago | (#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.

Re:Search poisoning (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 5 months ago | (#46482041)

As long as the ads are marked somehow, a user script will be able to suppress them.

If only some open-source organization would provide and maintain that script.
It doesn't make much sense to spend an hour coding every time Google changes their markup, but if the script would be administered centrally, then it might be useful.

Re:Search poisoning (1)

superdude72 (322167) | about 5 months ago | (#46481817)

I'm sure that Google, with the tens of billions of dollars it has invested in the infrastructure necessary to catalog all the information on Earth, is shaking in its boots. Some 19 year old is building a data center in his dorm room RIGHT NOW...

Re:Search poisoning (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 5 months ago | (#46482219)

So how many servers did Google have when they started? Oh right a PC in a room in Stanford. How many servers did Altavista have back then?

History repeats itself when people repeat the same mistakes.

Re:Search poisoning (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 5 months ago | (#46481887)

If they start poisoning search with for-profit results Google will be quickly reminded that they are not the only search engine in town.

Gosh, I know this is Slashdot and all, where, if Ben and Jerry's introduces a new Ice cream flavor it's proof that global warming and evolution was disproved, and that teh eval Guvmintz is tracking your bowel movvements.....

But Google's little yellow box that reads "AD" in front of a link that is an ad telling us that the link is indeed an advertisement is sort of a good thing for people that don't want to click on ads for all their search results.

They might not want to click on that link marked as an ad, or else they might get an ad.

Re:Search poisoning (1)

ehud42 (314607) | about 5 months ago | (#46482099)

If they start poisoning search with for-profit results Google will be quickly reminded that they are not the only search engine in town.

And other search engines (that matter) are?

Bing?

My point being, google's dominance in the search space, while not guaranteed, will certainly offer them a fair bit of buffer to experiment.

Re:Search poisoning (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 5 months ago | (#46482683)

If they start poisoning search with for-profit results Google will be quickly reminded that they are not the only search engine in town.

And other search engines (that matter) are?

Just google for search engine.

Re:Search poisoning (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 5 months ago | (#46482161)

Google is a verb. I think they've won. Pass the kleenex please, I need to put a bandaid on this jello.

Re:Search poisoning (1)

drinkmoreyuengling (2768737) | about 5 months ago | (#46482249)

The folks at TiVo will be glad to read this.

Re:Search poisoning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482295)

If they start poisoning search with for-profit results Google will be quickly reminded that they are not the only search engine in town.

START? Sinij, have you paid attention to Google's primary business model of the last ten years?

What are you talking about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481693)

For years google has had paid results at the top of the regular results.
This makes the adds easier to spot.

What about (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 5 months ago | (#46481701)

Inorganic search results

Re:What about (1)

kav2k (1545689) | about 5 months ago | (#46481741)

Users don't react to them well.

Re:What about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481755)

Inorganic search results

But feces are organic.

More obvious (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481747)

Am I the only one that thinks this makes it more obvious?

Re:More obvious (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#46481893)

I'd say it's a wash, therefore I have no objection to the new format. A large yellow box that says "Ad" is not overly subtle.

Unlike what some of the people here apparently think, I've no objection to advertising per se. It's a way for companies to make money, and Google has never claimed to be anything other than a for-profit corporation. Their tracking games, and some of the other things they do are one thing, but clearly labelled advertising is fine. Do people here also object to printed ads in magazines and newspapers (yes, such things still exist)?

The only reason I sometimes suppress ads is because too many have resource intensive and insecure things like Flash, or heavens know how much buggy Javascript, or whatever. Ads per se seem reasonable. I'm even fine with click through ads.

Re:More obvious (1)

Megane (129182) | about 5 months ago | (#46482053)

Considering as how they previously used a background color that went almost invisible on LCD monitors, probably. I had to search for something generic like "toothpaste" to see this new "little yellow square" format for the first time, and it is indeed more visible than that stealth background color.

Don't Be evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481761)

I see their motto is going well....

"Organic" (3, Interesting)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about 5 months ago | (#46481781)

That's as bullshitty a term as it is in your supermarket. There *are* no "organic" results when they're calculated based on your tracking history, ad clicks and social connections.

Friends don't let friends get tracked. Use the quack that doesn't track! [duckduckgo.com]

Re:"Organic" (2)

causality (777677) | about 5 months ago | (#46481833)

That's as bullshitty a term as it is in your supermarket. There *are* no "organic" results when they're calculated based on your tracking history, ad clicks and social connections.

Friends don't let friends get tracked. Use the quack that doesn't track! [duckduckgo.com]

I use startpage.com [startpage.com] myself. I like the idea of getting actual Google search results without any sort of Google tracking. They don't even log your IP address and they're outside of US jurisdiction.

By the way I hope our federal legislators appreciate that. I hope they are proud that now, "outside of US jurisdiction" has become a selling point.

Re:"Organic" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481973)

Because the US only tracks people in their jurisdiction right? Remember you have no rights if your not american because american's are the new aryans. Sieg hiel!

Re:"Organic" (1)

causality (777677) | about 5 months ago | (#46482783)

Because the US only tracks people in their jurisdiction right? Remember you have no rights if your not american because american's are the new aryans. Sieg hiel!

I know this is difficult for one-track minds like this AC to understand, but many issues are in fact nuanced and complex. Shockingly, law appears to be one of those. Just to name a single example: data retention laws. They vary by jurisdiction.

alternatively (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 5 months ago | (#46481835)

Friends who are not my friends apparently want me to stop finding meaningful results.

DuckDuckDon't.

Re:"Organic" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481941)

Or you could use startpage.com, which gives anonymous, untracked, un-bubbled results from Google, instead of DDG's inferior Bing results.

dkj

Efficiency? (1)

Monoman (8745) | about 5 months ago | (#46481809)

The ad notation still seems obvious enough to me. Google is also known for efficiently using screen space and bandwidth. Small changes can have significant savings when you are dealing with things on the scale that Google does.

Then again it could just be some evil in the works. :-)

Sponsored Links are now MORE obvious (5, Interesting)

mrbene (1380531) | about 5 months ago | (#46481821)

I'm in the test group.

It may be my eyes, the angle at which I use my screen, the brightness and contrast I prefer, or something else, but the background color has always been almost undetectable to me.

The new configuration, a simple yet obvious graphical element indicating "Ad" indenting the sponsored links, highlights them much more effectively for me.

+1 for this change.

Re:Sponsored Links are now MORE obvious (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 5 months ago | (#46481901)

And +1 to your post, as I've had exactly the same experience (when GreaseMonkey has failed to remove the elements completely, that is), and I rather suspect that was the idea. "See?" says Google, showing the EU commission a CRT screen with a page of search results on it. "The ads are obvious!"

Re:Sponsored Links are now MORE obvious (1)

blueg3 (192743) | about 5 months ago | (#46481919)

I get the same thing on some browsers/devices. The color difference ends up being almost undetectable. (Then, on other browsers, it's perfectly clear.)

Re:Sponsored Links are now MORE obvious (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481975)

The background colour has been lightened over the years (I presume deliberately). On modern LCDs, where colour contrast isn't as good as CRTs were (at least with light-yellow on white), the background is effectively invisible. Again, I presume a deliberate choice on Google's part.

Re:Sponsored Links are now MORE obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481985)

Yeah, this. I think ads are more obvious now, not less.

Re:Sponsored Links are now MORE obvious (1)

BRSloth (578824) | about 5 months ago | (#46482101)

And I wouldn't actually call the button "tiny" either: http://i.imgur.com/023wVgV.png [imgur.com]

Re:Sponsored Links are now MORE obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482113)

+1 I should have read all the comments before posting, as I basically said the same thing. I also agree with the other comment that they'd lightened the background over the years. I just wasn't sure that it wasn't just my imagination. Google changes things so often, and often so subtly, that I sometimes don't even realize they've changed something until someone else points it out. Although, I will admit, the power of observation alludes me at times.

Re:Sponsored Links are now MORE obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482117)

I'm in the Beta Slashdot test group. Beta Slashdot is blurring the lines between "News for nerds. Stuff that matters." and "Oh God, My Eyes! MY EYES!"

Re:Sponsored Links are now MORE obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482229)

Same here. Yellow at that level is not very viewable on most of the lcd screens I have used. The word 'ad' and a yellow shifting to more orange and better contrast to the white background they have is a good thing.

Re:Sponsored Links are now MORE obvious (1)

Bill Dimm (463823) | about 5 months ago | (#46482289)

I'm in the test group, too. The very first time I saw it, for a split second my brain wanted to think the ads were part of the organic results due to the lack of background color differentiation. Since then, I've not been at all tempted to accidentally click the ads, so I think it will make no difference a few days after they transition people over to the new layout (if they ever do).

Q? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481823)

Running afoul of the EU? (1)

pr0t0 (216378) | about 5 months ago | (#46481825)

Didn't Google just agree in a European Commission settlement to, among other things, make the ads more discernible from the search results?

Re:Running afoul of the EU? (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 5 months ago | (#46481913)

make the ads more discernible from the search results?

Which, as far as I can tell, is what they've done. This looks more obvious than the off-white box, to me. YMMV.

completely backwards (2)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 5 months ago | (#46481853)

This article is completely ridiculous. Google was scamming everyone with their off-white beige box with almost no border that indicated an ad. Unless you were looking directly at it at a perfectly 90 degree angle, any low to mid grade LCD monitors would turn the color back to white. They should gotten a billion dollar fine for that. I know some many people who had no idea those were ads.

Now it's a huge, bright yellow button that says "ad." Isn't this part of their settlement with somewhere in Europe about making ads more obvious? This is court-ordered. This is not making ads less obvious, it's making them more obvious. Thankfully now all I have to tell stupid people is to look for the word Ad and ignore it.

Re:completely backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482011)

The trick is to imagine the reverse and compare. Going from a yellow button that reads "Ad" to merely "placement on the page and a colored background" would be a bad change, therefore what Google did is a good change. The submitter is just annoyed that his mental training to avoid the old ad format is going down the drain.

This actually looks better to me (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 5 months ago | (#46481861)

This, at least, looks better to me than the ever-so-pale-background box, which I can barely see unless I'm looking at my screen from an angle.

Not that I ever see it anyway now, thanks to GreaseMonkey.

I click on google ad's all the time ... Why? (1)

Hohlraum (135212) | about 5 months ago | (#46481881)

Because they are f***ing relevant!

Heh: I never, EVER, even see 'em (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482015)

How/Why? This: Hosts do more w/ less (1 file) @ a faster level (ring 0) vs redundant browser addons (slowing up slower ring 3 browsers) via filtering 4 the IP stack (coded in C, loads w/ OS, & 1st net resolver queried w\ 45++ yrs.of optimization):

---

APK Hosts File Engine 9.0++ 32/64-bit:

http://start64.com/index.php?o... [start64.com]

(Details of hosts' benefits enumerated in link)

Summary:

---

A. ) Hosts do more than AdBlock ("souled-out" 2 Google/Crippled by default) + Ghostery (Advertiser owned) - "Fox guards henhouse", or Request Policy -> http://yro.slashdot.org/commen... [slashdot.org]

B. ) Hosts add reliability vs. downed or redirected DNS + secure vs. known malicious domains too -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comme... [slashdot.org] w/ less added "moving parts" complexity + room 4 breakdown,

C. ) Hosts files yield more speed (blocks ads & hardcodes fav sites - faster than remote DNS), security (vs. malicious domains serving mal-content + block spam/phish), reliability (vs. downed or Kaminsky redirect vulnerable DNS, 99% = unpatched vs. it & worst @ ISP level + weak vs FastFlux + DynDNS botnets), & anonymity (vs. dns request logs + DNSBL's).

---

* Addons are more complex + slowup browsers in message passing (use a few concurrently & see) - Addons slowdown SLOWER usermode browsers layering on MORE: I work w/ what you have in kernelmode, via hosts (A tightly integrated PART of the IP stack itself)

APK

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** "Less is more" = GOOD engineering!

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...apk

Re:Heh: I never, EVER, even see 'em (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 5 months ago | (#46482367)

Ah, I see the rumors of Francis Dec's demise were greatly exaggerated.

Ah, I see the rumors of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482453)

/, tech knowiedge were greatly exaggerated (since THAT crap = "the best you got" & you obviously can't disprove my points on hosts adding speed, security, reliability, & even anonymity, validly).

* :)

APK

P.S.=> All you trolls do when you do this crap, is make ME look GOOD - & yourselves? Well... lol, "not so good"...

... apk

results titles are larger (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481927)

preview text has gotten smaller. As someone who uses preview text more than titles this is annoying.

Browser plugins needed... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 months ago | (#46481963)

To detect the AD and color it's background blood RED. 90% of the ad's when you search for a program's name are scumware that pollute the users computer. Google knows this and they refuse to fix it because they make money off of it.

I really hope that someone finds a way to identify the ad's so adblock can strip them, or we can at least warn people away from them.

Adblock = INFERIOR + 'souled out' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482669)

Hosts do more w/ less (1 file) @ a faster level (ring 0) vs redundant browser addons (slowing up slower ring 3 browsers) via filtering 4 the IP stack (coded in C, loads w/ OS, & 1st net resolver queried w\ 45++ yrs.of optimization):

---

APK Hosts File Engine 9.0++ 32/64-bit:

http://start64.com/index.php?o... [start64.com]

(Details of hosts' benefits enumerated in link)

Summary:

---

A. ) Hosts do more than AdBlock ("souled-out" 2 Google/Crippled by default) + Ghostery (Advertiser owned) - "Fox guards henhouse", or Request Policy -> http://yro.slashdot.org/commen... [slashdot.org]

B. ) Hosts add reliability vs. downed or redirected DNS + secure vs. known malicious domains too -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comme... [slashdot.org] w/ less added "moving parts" complexity + room 4 breakdown,

C. ) Hosts files yield more speed (blocks ads & hardcodes fav sites - faster than remote DNS), security (vs. malicious domains serving mal-content + block spam/phish), reliability (vs. downed or Kaminsky redirect vulnerable DNS, 99% = unpatched vs. it & worst @ ISP level + weak vs FastFlux + DynDNS botnets), & anonymity (vs. dns request logs + DNSBL's).

---

* Addons are more complex + slowup browsers in message passing (use a few concurrently & see) - Addons slowdown SLOWER usermode browsers layering on MORE: I work w/ what you have in kernelmode, via hosts (A tightly integrated PART of the IP stack itself)

APK

P.S.=> You also *MAY* want to lookup CLARITYRAY - since it WILL be the death of AdBlock (but, not hosts files)...

... apk

What's the big deal? (1)

andyring (100627) | about 5 months ago | (#46481965)

I started seeing this recently too. I don't recall exactly when, but I barely gave it a thought. Something akin to "Oh, Google changed their layout a bit." It's still quite blatant which items are ads, and I wouldn't consider the "ad" tag to be a "tiny yellow button." It sticks out like a sore thumb, and furthermore, just looking at the titles of those particular "search" results makes it obvious the first few are ads.

Interestingly enough, the new layout has actually prompted me to deliberately click on some of the ads I've seen. In the past, they were easier to not even notice by being off to the side. But now, I've seen some of them, and knowing full well it's an ad, clicked anyway because I was curious or I thought (rightfully so in some cases) that the ad would take me where I wanted to go.

Phishing sites (1)

Martin S. (98249) | about 5 months ago | (#46482049)

This is already being abused by phishing and scam sites.

Search for the Car Tax, Driving licence or DVLA (UK Driving Vehicle licencing agency) and you see three ads for application scams sites.

The same for a UK fishing licence, or European Health insurance card.

Re:Phishing sites (2)

rhazz (2853871) | about 5 months ago | (#46482233)

This is already being abused by phishing and scam sites.

How exactly are phishing/scam sites abusing a stylesheet change in google search results?

Re:Phishing sites (1)

advantis (622471) | about 5 months ago | (#46482485)

They did that before the layout change too. Even I got tricked by them for a while. Never gave them any money, but they frustrated me quite a bit, as the information I wanted wasn't there. They looked like the government websites I was used to - same layout, same fonts, same colour theme - so it took me quite a few minutes to force my eyes onto the URL and realise that it's a $placeholder-gov.co.uk website instead of the $placeholder.gov.uk I expected.

It's gotten so bad that it warranted some press attention [moneysavingexpert.com] .

Blurred? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482073)

I don't quite get how this is "blurring" the ads/search results. To me those little yellow buttons stand out more than the sometimes slightly off color background that used to be in the background. I always warn people not to click the 1st couple of results because they're ads, which most people have never noticed... because they never noticed the different color background. (Granted it said sponsored results, but peoples eyes are always directed towards the link descriptions)

Parents "iTunes" download (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482167)

And this is the reason my parents downloaded the incorrect version of iTunes. Twice. Both top links were ads, and now their computer is infected.

Guess who "gets" to fix it...?

Not Worth the Aggro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482311)

Why the aggro over seeing the change when you can simply install your favourite adblock software and be done with it. Really. I haven't seen an ad for ages. And before you rabid capitalists start frothing about the mouth, I pay to use the Internet like you do. I also pay for email (Fastmail), I pay for streaming content. I'm not a leech, but I won't allow the malware vector that ads have become to soil my computer with rubbish.

Install Adblock Edge and forget about it.

Top search results... (1)

grumpyman (849537) | about 5 months ago | (#46482533)

are like that for a while..... That's how it gave me virus.

No, not really (1)

ironicsky (569792) | about 5 months ago | (#46482631)

Yes, they got rid of the pinkish coloured background from top ads, and removed the separator from the side bar. But the ads are still separated by a grey line, have a yellow icon in front of the ad with the word "Ad" in it, and an exclamation mark in a circle beside the ad blocks. If you can't tell they are ads, you aren't paying attention.

Does it matter? (1)

MeNeXT (200840) | about 5 months ago | (#46482765)

If the first link is an ad and it's what I'm looking for does it matter?

How ads are identified doesn't matter when it is evident it is an ad. What matters is that I find what I'm looking for on the first page with the least amount of clicks. As a customer of Google I do not want people who are not looking to buy to come to my site. If someone is looking to learn about diamonds they most likely are not looking to buy. So a generic search of diamonds may lead to a page of jewelers a user would not click on any ad links but would refine the search. If all users are stupid and click on links identified as ads for jewelers then jewelers sales will not improve and advertising costs increase or be less effective, therefore they may stop advertising with Google.

In order for Google to continue being relevant they need to be relevant to people who search otherwise Google's product dries up. If ads are relevant then I don't care

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