One of the features of Windows 8.1 that the Microsoft folks tout the most is Smart Search, the ability to search a user’s local files, cloud-based files, apps and the Web all at once.
Now Microsoft is revealing that the Smart Search feature will also include ads.
The “Bing Ads within Windows 8.1 Smart Search,” as the program is called, will display ads that are “highly relevant” to a user’s search, said David Pann, general manager of the Microsoft Advertising Search Group.
For example, if you do a search for “American Express,” an ad will show up for American Express.
For now, at least, neither users nor advertisers will be able to opt out of the program, aside from certain industries that Microsoft is exempting from participation, including pharmaceutical, alcohol, tobacco and adult entertainment.
For advertisers who are already participating on the Yahoo Bing Network, Microsoft automatically takes the ad campaign given by the advertiser, along with the advertiser’s webiste and melds them together into a new ad format that will run in Windows 8.1.
“This introduces the ability for advertisers to participate in this great consumer experience” of Smart Search, Pann said. “This plays to advertisers who want more volume and advertisers who want a differentiated ad format.”
The program is still in beta while Windows 8.1 is in preview. Microsoft will work with advertisers during that time to help them understand the right format and experiences for those ads and to get feedback on teh type of controls that advertisers want, Pann said.
As for consumers, “we’re hoping the ads add to the experience as opposed to detract,” Pann said, adding that for the program, the threshold for ad relevancy has been raised so that “only the most relevant ads show up on the page.”