Apparently, Google is now offering image ads in their AdSense program in addition to their established text ads. They are targeted—or relevant, as they say—but it seems a little odd for Google to divert their focus from a non-obtrusive advertising format to images. Perhaps Google isn’t making as much money with their AdSense as they did when they were new.
Most likely their reasoning behind this has to do with the fact that most large publishers already serve image ads on their pages along with text-based ads. However, one has to wonder if Google’s upcoming IPO has convinced them to increase the value of the company? They wouldn’t be the first company to sacrifice some ideals in the face of Big Money. Anywho, it’s all speculation.