Microsoft rolls out beta of ad gadget

Microsoft rolled out a beta offering of a new gadget that lets site publishers embed small pop-up windows in words on a Web page.

Microsoft's advertising developers have built a new gadget that mimics a similar feature on Yahoo pages and launches a small window of information when users hover over or click on an underlined word on a Web page.

Gaze is a small application, currently in beta, that Web site owners can use to embed a link for the small pop-up in a page. Users will know that a word has a link because either it is underlined or accompanied by a small icon that sits next to the word.

If a user clicks on the link, a small box pops up that includes information about the word and an advertisement or an offer. On a blog post describing the technology, Mario Esposito, a developer in Microsoft's AdCenter Labs, wrote that end-users can either hover over or click on the link. It's unclear if that means that a link could work both ways or if site publishers have the option to make the links require a click or open when users hover over them.

In an example on the blog post, "Madonna" is underlined and, in perhaps an odd error on the blog, a small box with information and links about Jennifer Lopez appears. The feature looks much like one that Yahoo uses on its own Web pages.

Esposito points to a main Web site for Gaze that simply says: "Something is happening ... April 15th - Your ads just won't be the same anymore!" The blog post alternatively refers to the linked word as a GazeInLink or a GazeLink.

Publishers who want to try out the gadget can request an invitation to do so.

Microsoft's AdCenter Labs is a research group that develops new advertising technologies. The team designed the algorithms behind Microsoft AdCenter products such as Paid Search, Content Ads and Behavioral Targeting.

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