Google’s AdWords ‘Ads By Google’ icon is gradually being replaced by a new icon that says ‘AdChoices.’

Seen on Sure Start News for the first time today, the change to AdChoices was announced by Google back in March. “We’ll soon start to change our in-ads notice icon to a new icon that expands to an “AdChoices” label,” they said on their blog, March 21st, 2011.

The change is being made to comply with the online advertising industry’s Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising. The program is designed to give users a notice and allow them to have a say in what ads are shown to them. “…we hope to show our support for this cross-industry initiative, and to increase our users’ understanding about ad choices through adoption of an icon they’ll see on ads across the web,” said Google.

The Google AdWords program, which displays  ads on websites around the world, already had the feature of allowing ad viewers to learn more about the ads they are shown. Google also has a way for users to set ad preferences, through their ‘Ads Preferences Manager’. These items were accessible by clicking on the ‘Ads By Google’ logo. In effect, the change to ‘AdChoices’ is only a change to the icon, as the functionality and ads otherwise remain the same.

Google said of the change “Our tests of this new icon and label showed that they should not have any effect on ad performance. We think this rollout will help users better understand the ads they’re seeing, and we look forward to seeing widespread adoption of this label throughout the industry.”

Google has not said how long they expect the ‘Ads By Google’ to ‘AdChoices’ switchover to take place, but until it is completed, users will see either of the icons with AdWords ads.