[caption id="attachment_10176" align="aligncenter" width="618"] Without online advertising, there probably wouldn't be all sorts of free Web stuff. Like cat videos. And wouldn't that be a tragedy?[/caption] Yes, Google has been hard at work on Google Glass, increasingly sophisticated versions of Android, and those cute search-page doodles. But Google can’t fund any of those shiny endeavors without lots and lots of advertising money—which means the company needs to issue increasingly sophisticated advertising tools to developers on a regular basis. The latest such tool is Google Web Designer, which allows developers, in the words of a June 4 posting on the DoubleClick Advertiser Blog, to simplify “the process of building HTML5 creative that can be served through Google platforms.” The platform should be available at some point in the next few months. (DoubleClick is a Google subsidiary that focuses on ad-serving services.) Google is also debuting some other advertising-centric tools, including an “Active View” that allows users of its core publisher products to better judge inventory. Another new feature, Cross-Sell, will allow users of DoubleClick for Publishers to jointly manage and sell both their Website and YouTube advertising inventory. While advertising fills Google’s treasury, it’s not above certain challenges and controversies. In May, the Federal Trade Commission FTC) had some probing questions for Google about its display-advertising business. According to unnamed sources speaking to Bloomberg, those questions may not expand into a larger probe, but the FTC is interested in whether Google is using its advertising muscle to “persuade” companies to use its other services, which is a big no-no under current antitrust statutes. And while Google dominates the search-engine market—and benefits from the online-advertising dollars that result—it still faces a rising challenge from Facebook, which also depends on online advertising. The two companies have been battling it out for some time, attempting to attract new advertisers in a variety of ways. The next big battleground: mobile, where more and more users are spending a healthy chunk of their time online. Google’s managed to stay comfortably ahead of Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, and other competitors in the online advertising space, but any student of the Web knows that a dominant position can be undermined within a relatively short time. That’s why Google keeps updating its tools—and why its rivals will do the same.   Image: Google