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Google Debuts DoubleClick Studio

The platform for designing rich media ads using Flash and Web technology includes a rewrite of the DoubleClick ActionScript API.

When Google announced that it planned to acquire online ad network DoubleClick in April 2007, Microsoft and others lined up to oppose the deal. But the acquisition went through, with only minor accommodations on Google's part, and now the integration of the two companies has yielded a new suite of online rich media creation tools for advertisers.

A year ago, after the deal closed, Google said it would sell the unit, to avoid the appearance that it sold search result placement through search marketing services, and also announced the layoffs of about 300 of DoubleClick's 1,500 employees.

These days, Google's giving rather than taking away. On Friday, Google unveiled DoubleClick Studio, a platform for designing rich media ads using Flash and Web technology. It includes a rewrite of the DoubleClick ActionScript API, an interface for verifying ad-related events, media previewing, reporting, and ad distribution.

Rich media ads make use of motion graphics, audio, and interactivity. This is what sets them apart from display ads -- banners, for example -- and text ads that can only be interacted with through a click. If well-designed, they're more engaging to viewers and lead to better results than their less-flashy brethren.

But rich media ads are difficult to design well. Google hopes to change that.

"With DoubleClick Studio, we hope to make it easier for our existing users to produce rich media ads and to expand the number of advertisers that can make these useful formats part of their marketing strategy," Shamim Samadi and Ari Paparo, from Google's rich media team, explained in a blog post. "This is also a good thing for Internet users; rich media capabilities make advertising even more useful, letting a viewer interact with an ad and learn about a brand without having to leave the page they're on."

It's not for everyone, however. Would-be users have to submit information to Google requesting access. But for those allowed in, Google's new rich media toolset should make ad creation a bit easier to manage and perhaps less expensive.

Mark Simon, VP of industry relations at Didit, a search engine marketing firm, believes Google's new tool will be welcome as ad agencies try to be frugal. "DoubleClick Studio is significant insofar as its simplification of the rich media creation and workflow management process is likely to enhance productivity within ad agencies," he said in an e-mail. "Being able to 'do more with less' is crucial right now, and we are impressed with the capabilities of this toolset, especially in respect to how simple it makes the creation of complex rich media applications."

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