Google to push new ads on its apps to snare shoppers

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Whether you are Googling on the couch, fiddling with Maps in the car or swiping through the Discover feed on the toilet, expect Alphabet Inc’s Google to put ads in several new spots this year.

The search giant on Tuesday announced an expansion of its advertising real estate to boost revenue from mobile shoppers. It will feature ads on the homepage of its smartphone app worldwide, show more ads in Maps and place ads with image galleries in search results.

The changes come as choppy revenue growth prompt questions from some Alphabet investors about whether services such as Inc and Facebook Inc’s Instagram are drawing online shoppers and in turn, advertisers away from Google.

Google executives told reporters on Monday the latest features were a response to how users behave, not competition.

The company wants to make it easier for users to discover and buy new products because they shop in spurts while watching TV or sitting in the bathroom, said Oliver Heckmann, vice president of engineering for travel and shopping.

“It actually changed with mobiles and what users expect from an online service like Google,” he said.

Shares of Alphabet fell 1% to $1,124.86 on Tuesday.

The ads on the Google homepage appear on what the company calls its Discover feature, a Facebook-style news feed that users swipe through to view an algorithmically personalized set of links to articles, videos and other online content.

The company said on Monday that ads would run where ever Discover is available, including on its mobile website, but clarified on Tuesday that ads would only be in the Google app.

Google tested ads on Discover last year, when it said more than 800 million people were using the feature monthly.