Google's (GOOG) press release describing the expansion of a beta program for what are being called Gadget Ads has showed that "widgets" are now a mature enough technology to become a serious component in Google's ad platform.
The widgets are just Google Gadgets with some commands added to the API to support tracking user clicks. Currently, the ads are being placed on sites the old-fashioned way, based on site content and advertising agreements. There is not yet a context-sensitive engine behind the ad serving function.
For now, Google is running an expanded beta with a limited number of large advertisers but the expectation is that the technology will migrate to the AdSense platform soon. The interactive nature of the Gadget Ads is said to significantly improve click-through rates.
Advertisers are hopeful that certain ads will be sufficiently fun or useful that users will want to put these widgets/Gadgets on their own pages. Advertisers are looking at Gadget Ads as having the added benefit that it simplifies the infrastructure of viral marketing.
In any case, Google has again shown inspiration in re-purposing its Gadget format for ads and will, no doubt, rake in the dollars as the ads proliferate.
Related content: see my article at the Trade Radar blog where I discuss in more detail the business implications.
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