As part of its deal with AOL, Google will be adding image ads to its search pages. While Google currently runs image ads on content pages it will be a new addition to their search results pages. It’s expected that Google will add a box at the bottom of the right-hand column of ads that contains an image, so it may not affect the layout of the current Google search results pages too drastically.
But Search Engine Watch’s Danny Sullivan thinks that the changes will upset some users and may undermine Google’s reputation. He predicts that the images will be an optional feature:
Expect that Google may likely make the display of these an option, on by default but easy to switch off. That will help, but overall, graphical ads I’d say will be seen as a sign that Google’s just like “all the other” search engines and losing some of the magic some feel it has.
Read Danny Sullivan’s full post titled More On AOL Pushing Google Into Graphic Ads & AOL Promotion or the NYTimes article AOL Coaxes Google to Try Busier Ads.