Microsoft announced and released http://www.live.com/ yesterday per this article in the NYT.
Microsoft executives said that the company intended to take on both Google and Yahoo by making advertising-supported services the core of a broad new Web-based software applications business.
I just want to point out that showing me ads while I am CREATING a document is very very different from showing me ads associated with a document I am reading. Let me say that again, creating ads during the creation process is very different from showing advertisements during the consumption process.
gmail shows ads about your email contents. We trust them not to snoop. Perhaps we click an ad, which of course being a conscious action taken by the human changes how we are thinking. But nothing we aren’t used to and we are driving the bus at this point.
But if you have a web based document creation that shows you advertisements via an AJAX refresh or similar as you type paragraphs, it WILL CHANGE BEHAVIOR and the contents that you write. The ads might have a different point of view from what you are writing. If I write Ken Lay is a crook and it shows me links that suggest he was justified while I am writing my document, it is reasonable to say this will either moderate or strengthen my position. My first guess is that an impassioned document would become watered down, or flame bait in reaction to someone arguing a counterpoint during the creative process.
To be fair gmail could also use AJAX to present ads as a person types an email, but I have never seen this actually happen.
The advertisements would be talking back to you as you write from a corporate advertising and public relations perspective ($$). Creepy. Interesting to see where this plays out.