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It's not a hedge bet, necessarily. It's a way for them to get direct input from users on which ads are tolerable and which are not. This information will undoubtedly be used to make ads 'more tolerable' so that Google's bottom line is not impacted.

I wonder if we're heading into a new era where online advertisements will become indistinguishable from non-ads. For example, a picture of your friend vs a picture of your friend with a soda bottle subtly added. That would be more tolerable to most everyone when compared to a flashy gif of that soda bottle bouncing around in your browser.

Wouldn't that "picture of your friend with a soda bottle" be considered a violation of the property rights of whoever took that picture? (lets leave alone the idea that the ad insertion violates the viewer's rights to unadulterated content - that could potentially be waived as a part of the EULA/TOS).

I don't think so. Many platforms include EULAs that basically state that they own content you upload to them.

> viewer's rights to unadulterated content

Not that I necessarily agree with you that this should be a right, but where in the world is anyone enforcing this as a right?

Well, we are used to the kind you spoke of already. Soda, fastfood and car brands are mentioned in films and music videos. But if some Javascript adds a soda bottle to my friend’s picture, I can see that as a potential violation (if you use facebook, you would probably get a “You and Bob have friends for ten years now” greeting slideshow... made by facebook with effects. But I haven’t heard anyone sueing FB yet).

What if instead of adding a soda bottle, they recognize there's a soda bottle in your friends' posts already and bump those images up in your feed?

That’s a good point, maybe I misread the initial post.

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