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Google clones search ad machine on photo sharer

Picasa joins money grab

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Google is now showing text ads when users search for public pics on its Picasa photo-sharing site.

Google calls this an experiment, saying the ads are visible only to a small number of US-based users. "As part of our ongoing commitment to innovation and to help users find new and better ways of getting the information they're looking for, we are currently showing text ads on the search results pages for Picasa Web Albums," reads a company statement tossed our way.

You might also say this is part of Google's ongoing commitment to wringing additional dollars from online services that haven't served up ads in the past. In recent months, amidst a shrinking economy, the Mountain View Chocolate Factory has injected new ads into Google News, Google Finance, Google Image Search, YouTube search, and more.

"At Google, we're great supporters of experimentation because it's only by trying new things (even if some of them don't work out) that you discover better, more creative ways to operate," reads a November blog post from the company. "We've been testing different advertising formats for years (some have been more successful than others), and over the next few months, you'll see us continuing to experiment with new ads in new places."

Picasa ads only appear when you search the Picasa site for pics. They do not appear on the picture pages of individual users. In other words, Google has shoehorned its primary money machine into the smaller world of Picasa's search engine. ®

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