Google is now part of the "Google Display Network," where advertisers can reach website viewers by text, images or video. And while right now, the display network may be in beta -- expect the display advertising onslaught to begin.
The ads began Friday in apparently random Gmail accounts, but most notably from Search Engine Land's Greg Sterling, who posted the ad showing a fit male model in a form-fitting T-shirt advertising organic cotton T-shirts.
Google reportedly said,"[Google is] always trying out new ad formats and placements in Gmail, and we recently started experimenting with image ads on messages with heavy image content."
Google is late to the display advertising game. Other Web-based e-mail, such as Yahoo! Mail, have been using display advertising for years. While some may lament the loss of Gmail's subtle advertising that barely garnered any notice on the right-hand side of one's e-mail, Google's free service still has to make its money somehow.