Google placed in beta yesterday a new service to create free display ads. This is a cleaner implementation, in my opinion to what Yahoo and AdReady have with MyAds. Slowly, Google is moving from text-based to true self-serve advertising. This is going to put a lot of low-value designers out of business. This service allows you to fill out a form with text and then be able to customize colors and effects, plus upload an image. It automatically creates banners in a variey of sizes, saving you time and effort.
So now you can count on Google for your local advertising needs– plus get free analytics tools, email services, and other items– all free. Now all they need to do is provide a local listings tool that submits to all the directories to round out the whole package.