Google Ignoring Its Own Policy on Desktop AdSense?

    November 24, 2009
    Chris Crum

It has been discovered that Google is now showing AdSense ads inside Google Earth. While it is not that surprising to see Google putting ads on another one of its properties, it has raised a few eyebrows, given that Google Earth is a desktop application.

Google actually states in its policy that it doesn’t allow developers to use AdSense ads in their desktop apps, but it appears that Google is bending the rules for its own product. The company is certainly free to do so, given that it owns the product, but some are beginning to wonder if this could lead to Google changing that policy.

AdSense AdsCurrently that section of Google’s policy reads:

"Currently, we don’t permit Google ads or AdSense for search boxes to be distributed through software applications including, but not limited to toolbars, browser extensions, and desktop applications. In order to comply with AdSense program policies, please note that Google AdSense code may only be implemented on web-based pages."

Blogger Amit Agarwal at Digital Inspiration appears to be the first to point out the ads in Google Earth, and he provides a couple of screenshots here. In one, you can see AdSense ads when you search for a location or business, and the ads can be found in the search results. In the other screenshot, you can see the ad in the window that pops up when you click a placemark (the red pins on the maps).

The interesting part of this find is not so much that Google is placing ads in Google Earth, but what it could mean if the company were to in fact change its policy.

"If that policy changes, we could see more and more of Office 2010 Starter or FeedDemon like applications that are completely free to the end-user but supported by web advertising," says Agarwal.

Joseph Tartakoff at PaidContent adds that "arch rival" Microsoft has already promised to introduce the ad-supported version of Office to come pre-loaded on PCs.

It is possible that there is being too much read into Google’s decision to include AdSense ads in Google Earth. It does make for an interesting conversation though. What do you think?

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