Video ads for select keywords are now showing up on Google and Yahoo search sites. I took a look and I have to say I prefer the Google ads because they seem less intrusive and obnoxious.
I typed in "smartphone" on Google's search site and saw a hot link that said "watch commercial" under the second sponsored listing on the right side. Clicking on that link opened a small 2-inch-by-2-inch window below the listing that automatically played the 34-second ad. I could pause the video or hide it.
I got a similar experience when I typed in "Curve," except the window was slightly larger and the ad was available underneath one of the sponsored results near the top of the page. But this did not appear every time I tried. Fortunately, I was able to grab a screenshot the one time it worked for me.
On Yahoo, typing in "Special K" or "Honda" brought up video ad links underneath sponsored results near the top of the page. When I clicked the "play video" icon the page went gray and a 5-by-5-inch window popped up and began playing the ad. The Special K ad ran for 30 seconds and the Honda ad for 23 seconds.
But do I really need a big window to watch an ad? I like how Google's ads are smaller and don't interfere with the rest of the page, allowing me to continue to view the "organic" or non-paid search results while the ad is playing. On Yahoo, when I click the ad I can forget about doing anything else while the ad is playing, and I have to click the "X" to close the window and get back to the search results.
It will be interesting to see how many people actually click on the new video ads. To be honest, I wouldn't have if I weren't a curious journalist doing my job.