Google: Don't Be Evil -- For A While

Google's unofficial motto is "don't be evil." It's an ambiguous, almost loopy thing to say. But when you get on that high horse, people expect you to ride it. Users have interpreted the motto all sorts of ways, and in the Internet world it's come to be mean: don't be like a real live business and assault me with advertising. But Google is a real live business, and it's striving to make money any way it can. Now they've decided to end the practice that made them the industry leader in websearch in the first place: instead of a chaste, text-only format, they're going to put video advertising on the results pages of their searches.

 At first, users will barely notice the change because the videos will not be immediately obvious. Ads with accompanying videos will have a small button with a plus sign. Google has increasingly used the plus icon to indicate that certain information — such as a map — can pop up on a search results page. Users that click the plus button on an ad will see a small video player that shows a commercial, movie trailer or other clip.

Ms. Mayer said, however, that the company would explore adding small thumbnail photos to the video ads as well. And a spokesman said the company is considering testing other formats that may include ads with images. But it is taking a delicate approach.

“We don’t want all sorts of video and banner ads all over the site all the time,” Ms. Mayer said. “People who advertise a movie want to show a trailer. Why shouldn’t they have the same format we use for search results and have a little plus box that says watch the trailer?”

Google is just seeking to monetize their market share. That's not "evil." But then again, claiming you were somehow morally superior to your competitors brings some responsibilities. Google claimed their competitors were evil, and now they're just like them. But then again, one suspects they always were.

Tags:  Google, googl, GOOG, ile