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Google converts paid ads into free listings on home page

Google is converting paid ads from its search results page to free product listings, a move that takes direct aim at other e-commerce juggernauts such as Amazon. Previously, retailers had to pay for the listings per click.

The free listings will appear in a product knowledge panel that shows buying options for a particular item, such as the tea kettle example below. Previously, these listings were all paid. Paid advertisements on Google’s home page—such as Product Listing Ads—aren’t going away, either. The company says the switch will take place this summer on mobile, adding that it will later apply the changes to desktop.  

Bill Ready, president of commerce at Google, told Ad Age that the company’s decision is aimed at “democratizing access” for online merchants.

“We want to make sure we’re helping expand access to digital commerce to merchants of all sizes,” says Ready, who previously served as PayPal’s chief operating officer. “Larger merchants can make valuable inventory that was previously sitting on their shelves more accessible. And small businesses can better compete in the world of e-commerce.”