Windows 8.1 users will eventually start seeing ads along with their usual search results.
Microsoft will begin to incorporate thumbnail images of the Web pages of Bing advertisers as part of the Windows 8.1 Smart Search, David Pann, general manager of Microsoft's Advertising Search Group, revealed in a blog post Tuesday.
The Windows 8.1 Smart Search improves on the search feature found in Windows 8. Smart Search can dig up results across a variety of sources, including your PC or tablet, your apps, your SkyDrive cloud storage, and the Web. Your results are also grouped together, making them more easily accessible than they are in Windows 8.
"Now, with a single campaign setup, advertisers can connect with consumers across Bing, Yahoo, and the new Windows Search with highly relevant ads for their search queries," Pann said. "In addition, Bing Ads will include Web previews of Web sites and the latest features like site links, location, and call extensions, making it easier for consumers to complete tasks and for advertisers to drive qualified leads."
Since Smart Search taps into so many different sources, it's only natural that Microsoft sees it as a ripe spot for advertisements. The search results from the Web are already "powered by Bing." So, for better or worse, ads are a logical next step for Microsoft and its advertisers.
Microsoft paints it all as a plus for Windows users.
"As we've said before, our goal is to make search advertising easier for our customers, while providing the best consumer experience with the most relevant results for the tasks they are looking to accomplish," Pann added.