But What If People Want Google To Modify Websites?

from the calm-down... dept

There's been a tremendous controversy this week over Google's new "Autolink" feature in their tool bar, leading some to label Google as an adware company, and many others to yell about how Google has broken their promise to do no evil. To be honest, the whole thing seemed blown totally out of proportion. Charles Cooper puts it back into proportion by wondering what the big deal is (which he's now getting slammed for). Still, I have to agree with him. This isn't something that's being forced on users. It's their option to use it. The real complaint, though, isn't from users (though, some of the arguments about this feature seems to get that confused). It's coming from publishers who are upset that Google is somehow "modifying" their page. This doesn't seem like a legitimate complaint. People "modify" the pages they view all the time. It should be the end-user's choice how they want to view a website -- and if they choose to view with Autolink enabled because it makes their surfing experience better, good for them. Do the same publishers who complain about Autolink also complain if different browsers display their websites in different ways? It's the same thing we were discussing last month, where publishers were freaking out about tools like Bloglines and Skweezer making their content more accessible or usable. How come the same publishers aren't complaining that Google's same toolbar blocks popups? That's also "modifying" a website -- but, in that case, they find it so useful that it's acceptable. Publishers need to get used to the fact that information is out there, and people are going to modify it. If those modifications make it more useful, so much the better.
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  1. identicon
    Anon, 26 Feb 2005 @ 5:18am

    Re: No Subject Given

    You obviously believe that your "right" to control the end-user's computer supercedes the end-user's own rights.

    How is the end-user controlling it? The problem surely is what content Google are going to link to, and so it will be Google controlling the end-user's computer, not the end user.

    Why is this going to be any different from the arguments against MS Smart Tags?

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