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Google just sent the following email, announcing new features for its contextual advertising service, to its AdSense publisher customers:

Google AdSense™

Hello,

We've been listening to your feedback, and are pleased to offer some new features for your AdSense account! There are new ways to get paid, and a new type of ad unit – read on for all of the details.

Ad Links by Google: another way to earn revenue

AdSense is introducing a new ad format – with a twist! 'Ad Links' present a new form of text-based advertising for your pages. Simply place the Ad Links code on your web pages, and, using the same algorithm that we use to target Google ads to your pages, we'll populate your Ad Links units with contextually relevant topic titles. When a user clicks any of these topics, we'll bring them to a page with related ads.

The result? Your users can more effectively find ads in which they're interested, and you can potentially increase your clickthrough rates and earnings. You can view an example of an Ad Links unit on our Ad Formats page.

To find out how to implement Ad Links units on your pages, please visit the AdSense Support center. Please note that we're currently limiting Ad Links units to one unit per page.

New Payment Options: Electronic Funds Transfer, local currencies, and secure delivery

We're excited to introduce local currency payments for publishers in 43 countries. You can now choose to have your earnings converted from US dollars at the time of payment, and benefit from reduced bank charges and shorter clearing times. You can sign up from the Payment Details section of your new My Account tab, or visit the AdSense Support center for step-by-step instructions.
Plus, whether you're receiving your check in US dollars or in your local currency, you can make sure it arrives quickly and safely with our new Secured Express Delivery option. The Payments section of the AdSense Support center has all the details.

Now in beta: Electronic Funds Transfer

As part of our effort to improve the payment process, we've also been testing Electronic Funds Transfer (NYSE:EFT), and we're ready to open this beta test to publishers in  15 countries! EFT directly deposits your AdSense earnings into your bank account, in your local currency, to greatly speed up and simplify the payment process. Because this feature is still in beta, there may be some issues that we haven't discovered - please read the  important information in the AdSense Support center before signing up.

We're testing new ad formats

We're also beginning tests of a mixed ad unit, to include both Google ads and Ad Links. This is a small-scale test that we'll be running on less than 2% of all AdSense page views on a random basis, so you may or may not see these combined ad units on your standard ad formats. We'd like to hear your feedback about these ad units, so if you see one on your page or on another page, let us know what you think. This test will take place for a limited time only, and you will be paid for all ad clicks that occur as part of this test.

Questions?

If you'd like more information about any of these new features, or about existing features, please visit the AdSense Support center. You'll find quick start guides, searchable FAQs, and a variety of technical support resources. You can also use the contact form to send your question to our team of AdSense specialists.

Thank you for continuing to be an important part of the AdSense program.

Sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team

Quick comments: (1) Electronic funds transfer sounds trivial but it's not - it's one of the features that AdSense publishers most wanted. (2) AdLinks is an interesting idea, but will readers want to view a page containing only ads? Perhaps the rationale for AdLinks is that ads which are requested are closer to search ads than contextual ads, so advertisers will pay higher rates; and entire pages of paid ads will increase Google's ad inventory.

GOOG chart below.
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Source: Google announces new AdSense features