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.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    joh6nn, 26 Feb 2005 @ 3:00pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    this is different because MS Smart Tags were built into the browser, and turned on by default. Google's autolink, on the other hand, is part of browser addon that the user has to decide to download. further, autolink is off by default, so the user has to decide to turn it on. so for Smart Tags, the user had to jump through hoops in order to turn the thing off, but for autolink, the user has to jump through hoops to turn it on. i believe that with autolink, the user also has more control over what is linked, and how, though i'll admit to having never used EITHER system, so that impression is based only off the reviews i've read.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Loading...
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.