It has been reported that Google is testing out display ads in Gmail as part of its internet marketing services.

Writing for Search Engine Land, Greg Sterling stated that a spokesperson for the company had explained that they are "experimenting with image ads on messages with heavy image content".

Mr Sterling noted that he found an advertisement that appeared on his own account page "really jarring" and observed that it would be interesting to gauge the public's reaction to the new feature.

He noted that, as the trial had been running since last Friday and he had only witnessed one ad, it is likely to be a small-scale test in order to gain feedback on public perception of the service.

Gmail is officially part of the Google Display Network, which also includes properties such as YouTube, Google Finance, Blogger and "over one million web, video, gaming and mobile display partners".

Commenting on the new feature, Engadget's Vlad Savov described it as an "unwelcome new visitor" and added that he hoped the firm thought better of the idea.

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