'The new PLAs work more like AdWords, with retailers and merchants providing Google with information about a product, including an image and the price-and then working through an auction-based programmatic bidding approach.'
And..For Marketers in Looksmart's (global) Marketplace
"We follow users showing search intent.. image, rich media..yes..we are getting into this..we position ourselves to the OPEN market."
Product Listing Ads (for both 'goods and services'- PLAs - with an image) are directly related to a user's keyword search and are displayed along-side the search results shown (on a SERP), in real time.
...Google also have what are termed as being Google Shopping (ads) that were once FREE, that have now become a 'paid-for' service in the US...These text strip Ads - link a user to a store's website and are only being made available to Google's Product Listing Ad customers. (Available to - I'd imagine, Google's top three highest bidders.)
This article today (from Econsultancy in Australia) advises that on 13th February, Google UK's Shopping [ads] will also transition from being FREE, to become a 'paid-for' service.
It is the Product Listing Ads (for both 'goods and services') that I feel will become involved in Looksmart's 'intent based' Open Marketplace.
With (initially) the winning bid in Looksmart's auction, getting to appear along-side the user's next 'port-of-call' or, the next landing page, that he or, she (the user creating the search query), may next appear on. (Including social - Facebook, et al.)
This would result in a more robust (blind to all) auction, with advertisers coming from many of the participating marketers - and from across the marketplace in targeting an 'in market' user. (Not just Google, as in this case).
This will then ultimately provide much higher returns for publishers within the marketplace.
I can one day (also) see Looksmart's 'ultimate' in auctions applying to the SERPs shown to users- of all of Looksmart's search partner (intent data) contributors.
All, only an opinion, of course.
Disclosure: Long LOOK and most happy to be so.