Third-party advertising has finally broken into Google’s coveted, spacious white front page. An ad appearing for Internet Explorer users on Tuesday and taken down by Wednesday promoted the Firefox Toolbar, an application included in the Internet software bundle Google Pack.
Aside from the massive amount of impressions the space garnered in that short period, Firefox became an object of desire and speculation from simply becoming the first third-party advertiser on Google’s front page.
“This promotion is an extension of the Firefox referrals through (the) AdSense program we announced last year,” Sony Boralv, a Google spokeswoman, told CNET News.com. “Google is promoting Firefox with Google Toolbar because tabbed browsing and safer surfing help provide our users with a great search experience.”
Yet, with their history of competition with rival web giant Microsoft, Google’s motives with the ad appear to carry some venom. The January launch of Google Pack initiated the site’s endorsement of several applications which directly compete with Microsoft’s product line, including Firefox’s toolbar. Google may very well have been anticipating Microsoft’s inclusion of a similar toolbar in their upcoming update of Internet Explorer.