Google's YouTube division has launched what it hopes will be an unobtrusive way for companies to advertise on videos hosted at its popular Web site.
The ads show up briefly as an overlay on the bottom 20 percent of the video, and people can click and watch the advertisement if they want to. YouTube will share revenue from the advertising with content owners, it said in a blog posting Wednesday.
The ads can be targeted by geography, and the examples offered by YouTube on Wednesday were visible from PCs in the U.S., but not from Europe or Asia.
YouTube said it began testing its "InVideo" ads weeks ago and that they are designed to interfere as little as possible with viewing. If a user clicks on the advertisement, the video they were watching pauses while the ad plays. "If you choose not to click on the overlay, it will simply disappear," the company said.
YouTube is only placing ads on content from "select partners," although it said both media companies and individual users will be able to earn ad revenue from their content.
YouTube asks site viewers to send suggestions on the new system, but the company apparently wants to keep feedback private. Comments are disabled for the ad blog posting, but users can send an e-mail by clicking where it says "The YouTube Team" at the bottom of the posting.
(James Niccolai in Paris contributed to this report.)