Google testing, encouraging bigger ads; YouTube music service on tap?

|By:, SA News Editor

Google (GOOG), which once promised it would never show banner ads within search results, is currently testing large banner ads that would be shown for certain brand-specific queries.

Google's test reportedly involves 30 advertisers, including Southwest, Crate & Barrel, and Virgin America.

Separately, Google's search ad placement algorithm (Ad Rank) is now incentivizing advertisers to include "ad extensions" (secondary ad links below a main link) within search ads. Ads containing extensions usually take up much more space than standard search ads, and (if broadly deployed) could end up lifting ad prices.

Complaints about the rising amount of screen real estate taken up by Google's search ads have grown in recent years, but they haven't done much harm to Google's search share yet.

Billboard reports YouTube will launch a Spotify-like music service featuring both free (ad-supported) and subscription tiers later this year. In addition to removing ads, the subscription tier is said to support offline caching.

Rumors about a YouTube music service featuring both video and audio-only modes surfaced earlier this year. Google launched an audio-only music service (All Access) into a crowded market in May.