Looks like Google is again taking steps to blur the visual distinction between paid and organic search results. A reader at Google Blogoscoped posted an e-mail recently received from Google about his/her AdSense account:
We’re writing to let you know about a coming change to the appearance of your Google ads. Your ads currently display the default Google color palette, Seaside (formerly known as Mother Earth). In the near future, we plan to update the default palette to Open Air, a new palette containing the same set of colors, but without the blue border. We’ve found that many publishers prefer the cleaner look of this palette and have also seen that a blended color palette performs better for them – attracting user interest while still maintaining the distinction between ads and content with the ‘Ads by Google’ label. …If you don’t choose to update your ad code, your ads will begin displaying the Open Air palette within the next 10 days.
While Google has previously given website owners the ability to customize the format of their AdSense ads, with this announcement, Google is taking steps on their own to blur the separation between paid and unpaid content. As one commenter noted, “The fine line between good and evil is dwindling.”
[image from Philipp Lenssen]