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Google Reportedly Prepping Email Service

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Web-search giant Google is rumored to be developing a service to link its keyword-based advertising service to email, the Reuters news service reported Friday.

Although Google spokesman David Krane did not confirm the rumor, he did say the company "has a number of projects in the works to test monetization in various scenarios. ... In fact, Google's AdSense contextual ads are already used in a number of email newsletters."

Sources told Reuters the company is working on a way to deliver ads to email messages as soon as the recipients open them. Sources also suggested Google could be developing an email service to compete with MSN and Yahoo.

Google bought several email-related companies recently, including Sprinks, which offers real-time ad-service technology, as well as an unnamed email-management software maker.