December 28, 2005 7:35 AM PST

What the Google-AOL deal means for users

Google is promising to keep its home page uncluttered and banner-free and its search results and keyword ad auction unbiased, despite paying $1 billion for a 5 percent stake in Time Warner's Internet unit last week.

Instead, people may see small graphical ads on Google's home and search results pages and banner ads on video and image pages, more exposure to Google's Web crawler for America Online sites, prominent links on Google Video to AOL video content and lots of chat between the popular AOL Instant Messenger program and the nascent Google Talk.


What's new:
Google says its $1 billion stake in America Online will mean very modest changes to the look of Google's home page and will not influence Google's search results or its keyword ad auction.

Bottom line:
Google users can expect to see small graphical ads on its home and search pages, and banner ads on its video and image search pages. Google Video is expected to showcase AOL's premium video service, although it is not yet clear whether Google Video users will have access to the content library and other video resources owned by AOL's parent company, Time Warner.

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The change for users "will be very slight, especially from the core Google experience," Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products and user experience, said in an interview with CNET

"There is a lot of fear that there will be banner ads now on the Google home page. We are not considering that at all," she said. "There is concern about biased search results and we are not doing that."

Accompanying existing text ads on the Google home page and search results pages, there may eventually be "small graphical elements"--smaller than thumbnail images--from AOL or other advertisers, Mayer said in the interview. Meanwhile, banner or display ads could appear on Google's video and image search sites, she said.

"There will be no banner ads on the Google home page or Web search results pages," she wrote in a Dec. 22 posting on the Official Google Blog. "There will not be crazy, flashy, graphical doodads flying and popping up all over the Google site. Ever."

Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Watch, said Google has already run graphic units to promote Google Desktop and Google Toolbar applications on its search results pages and to promote Google Toolbar on its home page.

"Some small use of graphics wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing," he wrote in a Search Engine blog posting on Friday.

Observers have been speculating about how things will change for Google users since the two companies announced the deal a week ago. The speculation prompted Mayer to write her blog posting.

"Biased results? No way. Providing great search is the core of what we do," Mayer wrote. "Business partnerships will never compromise the integrity or objectivity of our search results. If a partner's page ranks high, it's because they have a good answer to your search, not because of their business relationship with us."

Google will not do anything to give AOL sites an unfair advantage in the search results, but will work with AOL Web masters "just as we work with webmasters all over the world--to help them understand how the Google crawler works (with regard to robots.txt, how to use redirects, non-html content, etc.) so we don't inadvertently overlook their content," she wrote.

As part of the deal, Google also is giving AOL $300 million in credit to be used toward purchasing search-related ads through Google's AdWords auction system or for other undetermined promotional purposes. AOL will be able to sell all types of ads across Google's Web sites and those of publisher sites that display Google-powered ads. Through a new AOL Marketplace, AOL also will be able to directly sell search ads on AOL-owned properties.

This does not mean that AOL will have an advantage in the auction, Mayer said. "You might wonder if this will affect the ad auction. It won't. We don't offer preferential treatment on advertising (in either the auction or the display) to any of our partners," she wrote.

CONTINUED: Video mysteries…
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Past trends
So Google has a stake in AOL/Time Warner. Time Warner is looking pretty hard to dump AOL now. Maybe Google will buy AOL and make it free, just like they've done with everything else they've bought.

Someone explain this business model, please? Buy up stuff, make it way cooler, give it away for free. How do you make money doing that?
Posted by MrNougat (78 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Simply Put
with their main search unit(adsense/adwords) making so much money this allows them to do r&d and m&a of other projects to develop products and sit on a business model until the market provides a profitable model for them.

their main market is eyeballs.. so as many eyes you get the more $$ you make.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by icenfrosty (9 comments )
Link Flag
the money is in the advertising
and of course, it is smart to buy things, make the beta's free and charge for "pro" versions. everyone benefits and google still makes bank.
Posted by agent V (34 comments )
Link Flag
It's hard to imagine....
... what Google finds in AOL that's of value. Maybe it's the poor
dolts who still pay AOL for internet service. It certainly isn't the
quality of the AOL interface, home page, or the swamp of
services AOL tries to provide. I gave upon AOL years ago, and I
have been successful in getting friends and family onto quality
local ISP's who don't believe that they have to provide tons of
usually worthless features.

But Google seems to think that there actually is a reason to get
involved with AOL. That could become a very expensive mistake.
I don't see it as any serious source for profit.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
you used aol......
Posted by Bob Brinkman (556 comments )
Link Flag
It means more Hoax about Google by Big media
What does Google paying $1Bill to AOL-Time-warner-CNN mean??
What would it mean if someone paid you Tons of money!
It means the many 100s of their media outlets from Fortune magazine,
to Business Week, to etc. etc. will
just about every day hammer into people's mind that Google is the
best search engine and "oh how cool" are their geeky looking founders
and therefore we must get our search results (information) from them.
It means true Big brother at work.
On one hand Big media (AOL-Time-warner-CNN mean) hype Google &#38;
Yahoo as the best search engine and OTOH Google &#38; Yahoo pump
Billions of dollars into the pocket of these media outlets.

But I have found a search engine that is actually good for the people,
it is called AnooX: (<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>)
Why is it better, you can read here about it here:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Go People Power, Go AnooX.
Posted by Cyrus_K (60 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Thanks for the alternatives
All it means to me is that I will be visitng AOL pages even LESS often than I currently do...since I never use Google for any searching and NEVER click on ANY of the advertising (SPAM) links they sponsor. I hope that everybody else will do the same and reduce their click count (and revenue) to ZERO.
Posted by Meryl Arbing (6 comments )
Link Flag
Message has been deleted.
Posted by 208774626618253979477959487856 (176 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What does that link in your post have to do with anything related to Google or AOL for that matter?
Posted by PCCRomeo (432 comments )
Link Flag
CNET way to be a total ass
i dont think there is any chance that google will display banner ads anywhere on their site, ever.

especially since google has promised that it won't happen and besides they wouldnt do something so incredibly stupid that will surely only slaughter their reputation.

cnet seems to be convinced that it will happen no matter what. nice try.

and also with the biased search, comon they havent sunk that low ever before why would they suddenly decide to **** everyone off just for the hell of it?

i believe there will only be small changes and the most major change will be the interoperability of google talk and AIM. They might be able to talk to eachother in the future.

also google wants aol's vast user base. so generally, there won't be major changes to the way google works (the way we know and love), BECAUSE that would simply be idiotic.

and im done.
Posted by assman (1101 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Could have been better
If you were half professional in this comment, it would hold a lot
more weight, but in this age of just speaking one's mind without
grammar or respect, you make yourself look lower than the
company you are commenting on.

c|net is not perfect, nor will they ever be. But, poor language
and grammar only make you look like you are ranting, rather
than making solid points, even if you are making solid points.
The foul language only subtracts from your comments, not to
mention is against the Terms of Use that you agreed to when
you posted.

Making comments is a great thing, but making them mean
something is all determined upon how the comments are made.
Posted by jasonemanuelson1 (82 comments )
Link Flag
Google will not do anything to give AOL sites an unfair advantage in the search results...

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by ip_fresh (59 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Go Google!
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by 208774626618253979477959487856 (176 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This will defenetly give Google Talk a big boost
This will defenetly give Google Talk a huge boost. I'm glad that I will be able to use my Google talk to communicate with all my friends on AIM. My only worry is if the sounds and font was to change on Google talk. Part of what I enjoy of Google talk, is it's simplicity. It's lack of annoying sounds, and distracting hard to read fonts while still having a good look and just plain being effective. I don't want the AOL deal to take that away, but I do want interpobility.
Posted by balmermanj (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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