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Google is making ads harder to detect in search results

Google recently updated its search results with a new look on desktop that makes it harder for uses to differentiate between organic search results and the ads that appear above them.

Now the only thing that sets ads apart from search results is a small black and white “Ad” icon that appears next to them when a user searches for something on the company’s site. To complicate things further, the ad icon has been designed to resemble the new favicons which appear next to the search results users care about.

In a post on Twitter, The Guardian’s Alex Hern pointed out that there is now almost no visual distinction between ads and search results, saying:

“I would argue there is now no visual distinction between ads and results. There is still, technically, *labelling*, but it’s hard to escape the conclusion that it is supposed to be difficult to spot at a glance where the adverts end.”

Increased ad revenue

Google’s changes to how it displays ads in its search results is quite different from how the company did things in the past. Up until 2013, it was much easier to distinguish ads from organic search results as the company used an entirely different background color to set them apart. In the years that followed, Google continued to use unique colors to enable users to quickly see where the ads ended and organic search results began.

Last year when the new design first came to mobile, Google explained its reasoning behind the change in a blog post, which reads:

“With this new design, a website’s branding can be front and center, helping you better understand where the information is coming from and what pages have what you’re looking for.”

However, the search giant spent far less time discussing the changes to its ad designs and now that these changes have come to desktop as well, they feel much more significant.

Blurring the lines between ads and organic search results will likely lead to higher click-through rates which could be very beneficial for a company like Google that is still fundamentally an ad business.

Via The Verge

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