Lying Google advertising, or Google uses Adblock in its ads

by msivam

This Google ad is making the rounds over the internet for being an emotional and well made piece about reuniting people using Internet searches. However, I couldn’t help noticing that all the searches depicted in the ad do not show any Google ads at all! Here is a screenshot from the ad video of one of the searches:

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I am not sure if sweet shops advertise in Lahore(or Google’s ad agency picked searches that don’t have any ads), but a typical local search like that in US would likely be peppered with many ads above the search results as this story complains. The typical Google search experience is quite different from the ones shown in the ad.

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Not to mention the fact that the ads’ are almost indistinguishable from the search results because of a very low contrast background and lack of borders around them. According to a study by the FTC, half of the people(presumably older folks since contrast perception decreases with age) didn’t even recognize that there were ads on search engine pages! The full FTC letter is a fascinating read.

The first part of the headline is a tongue-in-cheek reaction to the blog Lying Microsoft Advertising which lambasted Microsoft for depicting a 10.1 inch screen as larger than a 9.7 inch screen measured diagonally. That post received a lot of attention and traction all over the internet and Hacker News as is typical of articles pointing out Microsoft’s missteps. However, in Google’s case I doubt that will happen. If what was depicted in that ad was reality, Google would be making close to zero revenue from it’s search engine instead of almost 50 billion dollars.

Or perhaps, like many folks, they are simply using adblock while shooting ads! Not Adblock Plus though, which took money from Google to unblock some Google ads. And in some countries, Google seems to be asking adblock users to disable adblock for Google sites. I guess you can’t blame people for wanting the same experience that Google shows in their slick ad.

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