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Still Seeing "Blue Pins" on Some Google Maps; Google Now Testing Paid Links in Google Earth

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Although some sites are reporting that the Google Maps "blue pin test" is no longer visible, I'm seeing the blue pins on some Google Maps results pages as of this morning.

The pins represent the location of the sponsored links that come above editorial listings to the left of the map. As we know, when Google tests something it might be visible with one search and a moment later, it's gone. Then, an two minutes or two hours later it's back but you're the only one who can see it. In fact, that's what happened today. Here's a screen cap of what I was occasionally seeing as of 11:20am today when searching for hotels NYC. RustyBrick told me he was also still seeing the blue pins

While we're on the topic of Google tests, a SEW Blog reader sent a note saying that he was seeing paid listings when running business searches with Google Earth (GE). I opened GE and spotted the same thing (in some situations) when clicking on the mapped location of a business. Here's a screen cap. I'm checking with Google to see if this is new, something old that we never noticed, or another test. Stay tuned.

Postscript:
A Google spokesperson has just confirmed to SEW that they are testing (on a limited basis) paid links in Google Earth.

As part of our continuing effort to provide a positive advertising experience for users and advertisers, we are always exploring ways to improve the way we display ads. We are currently conducting a limited test of ads in Google Earth. We do not have any other specifics to share at this time.

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