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
    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.

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