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Google testing service to let publishers manage ads

New Ad Manager service serves up ads for free and enables publishers to manage their ad inventory sales.

Updated 9:25 a.m. PDT Thursday with more details from Google blog.

Google is testing a new service called Ad Manager that will give Web publishers more control over ads that appear on their site.

Google Ad Manager is a "free, hosted ad and inventory management tool that can help publishers sell, schedule, deliver and measure their ad inventory," according to a Google blog.

Publishers participating in the beta test launched on Thursday can sell their own ad space, run ads from other online ad networks, or carry Google ads. The ads can include text, display, or video ads.

Typically, ad-serving companies, like DoubleClick,--now owned by Google--charge to serve up the ads. Google got final approval for its $3.1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick earlier this week.

Ad Manager is targeted at companies with small sales teams and it complements DoubleClick's ad-serving product, which is aimed at larger sites, Google said.

A Google spokesman told The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on Ad Manager late Wednesday, that there are no immediate plans to make DoubleClick products free, despite speculation that it will.