The online battle for advertising

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They both inhabit airy London offices where the furniture is funky, the clothes are casual and the talk is of cutting-edge campaigns.

But these two companies are not advertising agencies.

Welcome to the new faces of Britain's advertising industry - Google and Yahoo.

Both companies now have big London operations, and it is clear when you step through the doors of either Google's Victoria offices or Yahoo's building on Shaftesbury Avenue that these businesses are all about advertising.

What's more, London is the location for a toe-to-toe battle over who is to be number one in Europe's fast-growing online advertising industry.

As the Americans say, just do the math.

Last quarter, Google broke out its UK sales figures for the first time.

In just three months, it hauled in revenues of $578m (£289m).

Quadruple that for a rough annual figure, and you get some $2.3bn (£1.15bn) - a number which outstrips the total revenue for TV station Channel 4 during 2006 of £937m.

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