Google backtracks on shady desktop Search ads after outrage and says it's 'experimenting with new placement'

Turns out people don't like it when ads don't look like ads.

Screenshot, Input

Google is rethinking its new ad placement strategy because... well, everyone hates it. Earlier this month, the company introduced a new look for ads in desktop Search results. That new approach turned out to be ads that don't really look like ads at all.

While it promised "prominently" placed site domain names and brand icons coupled with a bolded "Ad" label, what we really got was essentially some super fine print dwarfed by a link that looks like any other non-ad Search result. Oh, and some tiny "favicons" for the legitimate results that are supposed to help you distinguish between the two. Find me a single person who likes this.

In any case, Google is now walking it back a bit and says it's looking into better ways to present advertisements based on the feedback.

You may see some changes (or you may not ) — The design has been live on mobile for some time, but its transition to desktop didn't go over as quietly as Google probably hoped. The company says it will be testing new placements over the next few weeks.

"The design has been well received by users on mobile screens, as it helps people more quickly see where information is coming from and they can see a prominent bolded ad label at the top," Google said in a statement shared on Twitter Friday afternoon. "Web publishers have also told us they like having their brand iconography on the search results page.

"While early tests for desktop were positive, we are always incorporating feedback from our users. We are experimenting with a change to the current desktop favicons, and will continue to iterate on the design over time."

Just make the ads clear — At this point, we've all come to terms with the fact that ads are inescapable. Stop being sneaky and just present the information as it is, we (you know, the consumers you're targeting) can take it from there.