Yahoo indicates it's pleased with its Google test

There may have been a little extra cash flow in Yahoo's direction from its beta test of Google's AdSense in its own search pages. But whether you take that as a sign of a deal in the works depends on how you read the carefully phrased speculation.

In the mergers and acquisitions game, the key players typically establish back channels in the major media in order to give them reliable outlets for bluster. Yahoo's choice of late is one of the best, The Wall Street Journal; and this morning, the word from that publication is that Yahoo's initial beta test of Google's AdSense for Search, announced just last week, was apparently successful.

The WSJ went so far as to characterize the successful test as a "deal" between the two firms. But as customers of AdSense for Search already know, Google's participation in any such deal for any Web site, regardless of whether it's a prospective takeover target of Microsoft, is passive at best.

As Google's own explanation of its service to prospective customers makes clear, all a customer needs to do is send in an application and wait up to three days for approval. From that time on, participation in the program is automatic from the customer's perspective, and all Google needs to do is sit back and make money.

"If you comply with our program policies, simply complete our online application and select AdSense for search from the Products selections. The program is free, and Google pays you for valid clicks on the ads on your search results pages," reads Google's description of AdSense for Search.

The presumed purpose of such a public test, complete with Yahoo's warning not to take it to mean anything, was to inject Google into the discussion of Microsoft's takeover bid for Yahoo, as a way to make clear to its own investors, among others, that Yahoo has a number of options besides being swallowed up. But with Google not actually having to contribute anything of its own directly to the discussion, the potency of Yahoo's injection may be wearing off, and it may now have to inject something more substantial than just WSJ bluster to keep those options looking alive.

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