Ads are probably the number one driver of Google's overall revenues, so it's no surprise that they're now appearing in Feed, the personalized stream of news on Android.
While unsurprising, it's still an odd change considering that Android has largely steered clear of ads. In fact, users only see ads when they browse the web or use ad-supported apps.
Android Police reports that various cases of users complaining about seeing ads in Feed, and some people have taken to Twitter to share screenshots about the ad placements.
Prepare To See Ads In Google Feed
Typically, Feed is located in the far left section of the home screen. On most phones, however, it's accessible via the Google app. Based on the user's browsing history and likes, it automatically curates a list of relevant news articles the user may find interesting. These come in the form of "Cards," which can be tapped to reveal more information. Until now, it's always been an ad-free section, but it's now clear Google aims to change that.
It's worth noting that the ads look exactly like regular cards, except they have a little green "Ad" badge on the bottom left corner. Google shows the URL in full instead of displaying just the website's logo and name.
Ensuring they look like normal cards as much as possible is presumably one way to streamline the design, offering a clean overall look — but not only that. It could also be a way for users to mistake ads as a regular article or Card. Either way, the ads don't look pesky and annoying.
As VentureBeat reports, a Google spokesperson has now confirmed that ads are part of a test Google is currently doing, and it also provided a generic response:
"We're always testing new ways to improve our experience for our advertisers and users, but don't have anything specific to announce right now."
Don't Be Surprised
Again, ads appearing in Feed shouldn't be all that surprising. Advertising is the primary lifeblood of Google's business, and it's a strategic move, too, as Google knows that users are increasingly shifting to mobile for their searches, particularly with Google Assistant or the Google app, which means it's only natural for the company to view these as ripe advertising avenues.
Are you seeing ads in your Feed? Would you prefer not to? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!