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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Google doing the MS thing

Gary Price of the Searchenginewatch Blog writes about the new Google Toolbar.
It offers
- Spelling Correction (obviously working well with Gmail),
- Autolink - which, as Gary rightly says, offers many commercial opportunities: Google inserts links into the webpage whereever the context allows for relevant links.

I wonder if this will not get too annoying at some point? Addresses on a webpage can even be linked to Google Maps.
He mentions other features, but I won't go into that here. The main point is, that this is another step on arranging information neatly. At the same time, Google is taking the opportunity to once again show that they are really at the top of filtering information on the web.

There are quite a few blogs upset about it. Steven has a post on it and Rex also mentions it, referencing Dan Gillmor, who complains that Google emulates MS (and gets away with it sofar). Greg Linden is also highly scepticle about it.
I have already mentioned in a previous post, that I think we need to watch Google. Sofar everything has been very much user centric and supported users in many ways.
But now they even modify the webpages you're reading. Question is: if this is a trend, when will we reach a stage, when you just can't read original content any more, because someone modified the content on everything you read (without the original authors knowledge or permission?)
Another quote from Greg, which he wrote after several people commented on his first post:

To clarify my original post, I'm not so concerned about what Google Toolbar currently does with Autolink. It is what may follow that bothers me.
Rewriting pages to add links is a dangerous trend. While Google's current implementation may be fine and dandy, it may also be the first step on a slippery slope.

I fully agree!

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