Job ads and rating ads played more than bit parts in this week's Wall Street flick.

Improve your ads or else
In what promises to be an insightful move, Nielsen Media Research will start rating the televised ads wedged between major network television shows. Thanks to TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO) and other copycat digital video recorders, we can now gauge whether viewers are speeding through commercials. In the simplest of ways, Nielsen is now challenging sponsors to come up with more compelling advertisements.

Until I see what we can learn from these reports, I'll be skeptical about their usefulness. You can't account for folks who just let the ads roll as they head off to make a sandwich or check their e-mail. This is also a system that will work only on previously recorded shows, in which fast-forwarding through the ad breaks makes feasible sense.

The important thing, though, is that the industry will now have something to chew on. The upfront selling season, in which major advertisers gobble up ad time on the major networks, produced mixed results. Unlike Internet advertising, where companies can gauge clickthrough rates to determine effectiveness, little has been done to mine the effectiveness of every single television ad campaign.

Will TiVo owners be able to work the green "thumbs up" and red "thumbs down" buttons to rate the individual ads too? Probably not, though it would certainly also be a valuable tool to actual sponsors, who'd probably crave immediate feedback before drawn-out campaigns bled their marketing budgets dry.

Google's Ann Arbor Day
As if its sprawling California campus isn't enough, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) will now open a call and technology center in Ann Arbor, Mich. The company's AdWords program continues to resonate with advertisers of all sizes, so expansion was necessary. A patriotic cynic may also delight in knowing that Google is heading into an area that could use the new jobs, given the weakness at area automakers Ford (NYSE:F) and General Motors (NYSE:GM).

Before anyone says that Ann Arbor beats Bangalore, keep in mind that few jobs at Google are as simple as answering the phone. In the past, recruiting efforts have involved eclectic approaches like renting out a billboard with a brain-busting problem. The correct answer would also be the Web address to the company's hiring page. The company has prided itself on hiring the brainy, and you can bet that what some may see now as a lifeline to area residents could wind up being more of a outreach center to the brightest University of Michigan graduates.

In the end, it's just Google getting bigger. If not, maybe the company just had way too many Google-emblazoned winter coats collecting dust on the sunny West Coast.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

TiVo is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. For more picks worth watching from David and Tom Gardner, try Stock Advisor free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look back. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.