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Google Debuts AdSense 'Auto Ads' for Publishers

By Published on .

Credit: iStock

Google on Wednesday offered web publishers an optional update to its AdSense system that it says uses machine learning to choose the best ads to display and the best places to put them—even areas where there were no ads before.

"Place one piece of code just once to all of your pages and let Google take care of the rest," the company says in a blog post pitching the update, called Auto ads.

Publishers will not need to remove their existing, manually-placed ads to use it; Auto ads won't interfere with those, Google says.

Google's AdSense already serves ads that it calculates will perform well based on factors like publishers' content and audiences. The Auto ad feature layers in machine learning to improve results and find unused ad space where new ads can go, according to Google. The move underscores a broader shift within Google to include artificial intelligence in nearly everything it does.

The blog post does not address whether the Auto feature limits ad placements to protect publishers' traffic from search. Google's search algorithm considers ad overload a negative when ranking websites in its results, and Google's search team does not work directly with the AdSense team.

It's also unclear how publishers can keep track of where ads are being placed and how they are performing. Google referred questions to an outside PR agency, which could not immediately provide answers. (Update: A Google representative said the Auto ads program keeps track of ad density in such a way that it's unlikely to hurt a publisher's search ranking.)

"Finding the time to create great content for your users is an essential part of growing your publishing business," Tom Long, AdSense engineering manager at Google, said in the blog post. "Auto ads use machine learning to make smart placement and monetization decisions on your behalf, saving you time."

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