By now you're probably accustomed to seeing ads appear in Google when you use it to search. You probably aren't even surprised when those ads relate to others searches you've done or pages you've visited. You may well, however, be interested in what takes place in that blink of any eye between when you enter a search for, say "Kate Snow," and the time a list of potential info sources is returned to you.
In the Internet age, according to the New York Times these milliseconds are enough time to hold an auction for your eyeballs, called real-time bidding." This means that in this eye blink
Your search term and your Internet history are put up for bid
Companies looking to reach shoppers like you competitively bid for the right to pitch their message on your search response
A winner is selected and the proper ad is served up and placed on the response