Google Inc. will begin distributing online video ads for the first time later this week, continuing the Internet search engine leader's effort to diversify beyond the static written messages that generate most of its profits.
The video expansion, announced late Monday, will affect thousands of Web sites that rely on Google to post ads related to the surrounding material on a page. For instance, a news story about housing might prompt Google to display an ad for real estate agents.
Google isn't allowing the video ads to appear on its own Web site — a heavily trafficked destination that produced 58 percent of its $2.25 billion in revenue during the first three months of this year.
Despite that restriction, Google's push into online video advertising represents a significant step for the Mountain View, Calif.-based company as it explores new ways to propel its rapid earnings growth. Google began distributing graphical ads two years ago and during the past year has been dabbling in print and radio marketing.
None of the new initiatives so far have paid off like the austere blurbs that Google has been distributing across the Web since 2001. Those commercial snippets, usually consisting of a sentence or two, have accounted for the bulk of the $13.6 billion in revenue that has poured into Google during the past 4 1/4 years.