Search giant Google Inc. is investigating the source of a fake Google site that gives the impression the Mountain View, Calif., company has broken with its long-standing tradition by placing ads on its home pages.
The site, http://google.by, was the subject of a report on eWEEK.com early Tuesday that wrongly linked it to Google. It turns out, a Google spokesperson said after the story was published, the site, in Belarus, has no connection to Google.
"This site is not owned, operated or controlled by Google," the search giant said in a statement late Tuesday. "We are aware of this site, and our legal counsel is investigating the matter."
One source said the site was long ago hijacked by cybersquatters, which dressed it up with ads and also added a Google copyright insignia on the pages lowest portion to give it an air of validity.
"Doing business, in fact, doing anything, in Belarus is not easy," the source wrote in an e-mail to eWEEK.
There are more advertising-related changes to come, Google indicated, which do include advertising on its front pages.
Other changes include small-size ads with images that are expected to appear soon. Banner and other kinds of larger-scale ads may soon also appear on the Web sites hosting Googles video and picture search.
But "we havent started the experimenting yet," said a Google spokesperson.
The new look of Googles front pages to come may be attributed, in part, to compromises Google is rumored to have made recently to keep America Online Inc. from defecting to rival Microsoft Corp.
The deal was the result of a big battle for Google. Googles 3-year-old relationship with AOL, which is the online unit of entertainment, media and communications conglomerate Time Warner Inc., now accounts for about a tenth of Googles annual revenues.