(UPDATE: Aparently not. Apologies. Still in disbelief, we read the story again, very slowly, and found that nowhere does it say ads will go on Google’s main home page. We were confused by the first sentence of the NYT story, which referred to Google’s notoriously “spare site,” but apparently story is referring to Google results pages. It is an odd reference, though, because those results pages these days are hardly much more spare than say, Yahoo’s. Meanwhile, we’re confirming with Google…)
(UPDATE II: We’ve since received a press release from Google about the expanded relationship with AOL.)
Now this is a surprise. Story from NYT’s Saul Hansell:
Users of Google’s search engine will soon see something they are not used to on the notoriously spare site: advertising with logos and graphics. And the advertisers will not be limited to America Online, whose talks with Google prompted the change in policy, according to two executives close to the companies’ negotiations.
As part of their deal, which is expected to be announced this afternoon, Google is providing AOL with $300 million in advertising on Google’s Web sites, intended to use to draw Google search users to related content on AOL’s sites, the executives said. That sum is on top of the $1 billion in cash that Google is to invest to buy a 5 percent stake in AOL.