Search giant Google has started to test display ads on its Gmail service, it has been revealed.
According to Search Engine Land's Greg Sterling, a display ad appeared on his Gmail account, indicating that Google's display ads program is being trialled on Gmail.
The ads first started appearing on 21 January, as the company is still testing the system not every Gmail user will be able to see the ads a company spokesperson informed.
Google said in a statement to Search Engine Land: “We’re always trying out new ad formats and placements in Gmail, and we recently started experimenting with image ads on messages with heavy image content.”
The Google Display Network provides image and text rich ads on a number of Google's online properties, such as Google Finance, Google Maps and Blogger, and now Gmail.
Google normally only offers text based ads on Gmail, based on the contents of the e-mail received by the user. Google has assured in the past that the emails are not read by people and that the whole process is automated.