We manage a number of Google Ads campaigns for clients. We’ve definitely noticed an uptick in desktop CTR’s since the updates (same as what happened with mobile last year). But a Google Ads campaign is only as good as the conversions it drives. If the quality tanks b/c of more junk clicks, ad spends will go elsewhere. All that to say, I don’t view this as cynically as the article here states:
Last week, Google began rolling out a new look for its search results on desktop, which blurs the line between organic search results and the ads that sit above them. In what appears to be something of a purposeful dark pattern, the only thing differentiating ads and search results is a small black-and-white “Ad” icon next to the former. It’s been formatted to resemble the new favicons that now appear next to the search results you care about. Early data collected by Digiday suggests that the changes may already be causing people to click on more ads.
Source: Google’s ads just look like search results now – The Verge