Check out what Dave Winer [davenet.userland.com] has to say on Smart Tags this morning. For those interested, there are further opinions [groups.yahoo.com] expressed elsewhere.
It seems that with the inclusion of Smart Tags in the latest version of IE6, the 'Beast of Redmond' (with thanks to The Standard) rolls on regardless. All seem powerless to stop its inexorable march to dominance. Whether we want to or not remains irrelevant for as long as we’re not up to speed on what’s happening out there.
Why are we hanging on to the shirttails of this fast-breaking bit of Web-napping? We seem to lack the critical acuity and analytical skills to pre-empt Microsoft's moves and our responses are reactionary rather than informed by the knowledge readily available to us.
The material people like Winer put out deserves more than the attention given to the information processing and digestion demanded by press releases. In short, we need detailed direction on our bulletin boards from our techies, developers, and anybody else in the know.
I am not a techie. This is not my field of expertise. I do, however, want to know what is going on.
If people are serious about forecasting the future of Search, I'd be most keen to hear the views of the informed on UDDI [uddi.org] which, after XML, SOAP, and WSDL, is the next major innovation in Microsoft's armamentarium.
Believe me, this is on topic. Whether you can turn these things on or off is beside the point - that button is still on the toolbars of millions of browsers. Smart Tags, UDDI, etc. all point to a future where either the Web is dominated by Microsoft, it fragments, or it sees out a protracted and meaningless war between the boys after the bucks.
Search either has to fall in with what the future holds or do something about it. Agree with me or not, I believe Gates is the only person with the vision and liquidity capable of mounting a major onslaught on our new technologies. Whether this is a good or bad thing, is debatable.
Feints by Sun, Oracle et al by way of threatening new court actions related to Microsoft abuse of monopoly through dissemination of Windows XP are just that, i.e. strategic feints of those left in the dust. The original anti-trust ruling will be palmed off to a lower court for a re-hearing and will take years to conclude. By that time...
For those not keen on divining the future, Microsoft [microsoft.com] gives you the lowdown on the present status of IE6 and their Smart Tags.
BTW, while the future is not yet cast in stone - see what Adam Bosworth has to say on the progress of WSDL [xmlmag.com] - it is setting fast.