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Google will require advertisers to prove their identity

The search giant is taking steps to increase transparency around ads.

Google headquarters in Mountain View, California

Google headquarters sprawls across a large campus in Mountain View, California.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Google on Thursday said all advertisers will now be required to complete a "verification program" in order to buy ads on its platforms, including Google Search, YouTube and its display ad network. The search giant previously rolled out a verification program for political advertisers

Advertisers will need to submit information that proves their identity and the country where they operate, Google said. People will start seeing this info in "Why This Ad?" disclosures starting this summer.

"This change will make it easier for people to understand who the advertiser is behind the ads they see from Google and help them make more informed decisions when using our advertising controls," wrote Google's John Canfield in a blog post. "It will also help support the health of the digital advertising ecosystem by detecting bad actors and limiting their attempts to misrepresent themselves."

Google said it'll start with verifying advertisers in the US, then expand globally. 

Ads are big business for Google and its parent company, Alphabet. Annual revenue for Alphabet is more than $160 billion, and roughly 85% comes from ads.