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Google, BellSouth partner on local-ad effort

The carrier is expected to give the search giant better access to small and medium-size advertisers in the Southeastern states.

Google has entered a multiyear partnership with BellSouth in which the carrier will sell ads through the search giant's AdWords program, according to a statement released Thursday.

The deal will let Google use BellSouth's sales force to reach small and medium-size businesses across a nine-state region in the Southeast, Sukhinder Singh, general manager of Google's local and third-party sales group, said in a statement.

BellSouth has its own online advertising business in RealPages.com, a yellow-pages site. BellSouth says users made nearly 160 million searches on RealPages.com last year.

Through Google's AdWords program, advertisers get access to about 80 percent of U.S. Internet users, according to a statement from the companies.

Google AdWords works by providing advertisers an opportunity to bombard surfers with marketing messages when they search for information.

Google and rival Yahoo have been fine-tuning their local search services in an effort to snag a piece of the estimated $100 billion U.S. local-advertising market.

BellSouth already has an agreement with Google to provide search capabilities to its Internet and broadband customers.