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This 168 message thread spans 6 pages: < < 168 ( 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 > >     
AutoLink Toolbar feature looks like SmartTags
eventus

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 2:17 pm on Feb 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

As an online publisher and content provider the AutoLink feature in the new version of the Google toolbar is something that I take serious and direct issue with.

You may recall that MicroSoft tried a similar concept with SmartTags and other companies have released other similar plugins that have come to collectively been called Scumware, Spyware, Adware or Malware.

Gary Price : With "AutoLink" enabled, web pages will be "enhanced" with additional links if Google thinks additional information might be helpful. For example, say your browsing a web page with numerous addresses on it. AutoLink will turn each of those addresses into direct links to the Google Maps database.

I don't want Google, or any other company for that matter, "enhancing" or otherwise modifying the page design, links or content of our pages or other intellectual property without permission and/or compensation to us.

Let's imagine that I sell books online and I list the ISBN number on the pages. AutoLink modifies the ISBN numbers that I list on my ecommerce pages and inserts a link to that books page in Amazon, my competitor... Not Good.

I am sure that this "Feature" has massive commercial appeal and potential for Google. How long will it be before Google starts offering paid partnerships to certain parters to link their data directly from your pages to theirs.

Google may claim this is useful and they will do no evil. How can we be sure? There is much to consider.

How much longer before we just let the web browser rewrite all our websites and pages..

 

Wlauzon

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 9:04 am on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

The toolbar is not spyware because you can turn that function off.

nonstop

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 12:44 pm on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

the definition of spyware according to google:

[google.com.au...]

Tapolyai

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 12:51 pm on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have a serious problem with this.

One of my sites prides itself of not having any advertising what so ever.

I understand that this feature requires user initiation, but let us not forget that we often have to make our sites for the lowest common denominator. i.e. for the user who cannot tell the difference between a web page and an actual application running on their machine.

So, having said that, when someone uses a machine with this Google "feature" turned on, and sees advertisement on my web site, suddenly my good name is tarnished. So what is my recourse? How do I protect my name?

Secondly, as previously stated, what if I have embeded affiliate links on my other sites? These links go to vendors for products producing an income for me. Will the Google links over ride it to other, more suitable search results? Flank it with better results? In essence take away my income?

And don't give me the "user has the right". No they do not. Do not forget you have no right to modify most software packages to make it work better! Don't forget you have no right to modify many products and services just because it would work for you better!

As a matter of fact,I retain all copyright to the web site, and I simply grant a non-exclusive, temporary license for the sole purpose of viewing it for however long I feel like it. :-D

I am confident Google will come up with an equitable solution.

Take advantage of the meta tag "MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" & ROBOTS.TXT.

The meta tag would allow a quick casual fix, and the ROBOTS.TXT could work for more site wide solutions.

eventus

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 1:39 pm on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's interesting that many people are posting that they are confident (or other words to that effect) that Google will turn off the feature, or offer a work around.

Although I truly hope that they completely disable this feature I don't see where they have much incentive to do so. Google will be under increasing pressure from Wall Street, their Board of Directors and their investors to pull serious profits from their operations.

Google is developing a history or (Modus Operandi if you will) of providing "enhancements" that erode legal, privacy and other boundaries in little pieces.... Pieces so small that it would be seem very silly to argue or fight over. An example of this is GMAIL and advertising in that email based on the content.

GMAIL users freely allow google to essentially read or parse your mail content. The mere idea is alarming.

Would you let the US Postal Service read your mail from your family so that they can insert flyers into the handwritten pages and include ads for Campbells Chicken soup because your mom sends you her favorite chicken soup recipe?

I'm sorry but I really don't think that today's Google is the same company that we came to know and love in the past. It's changed, and not for the better I fear. Just ask the "Google Blogger".

The core to this issue goes deeper than toolbar and email features, firings or broken promises.

These are issues of Privacy, Free Speech, Trust and Commerce... You really need to think about this and decide just where you have to take a stand and draw that "line in the sand" on important issues and not tolerate anyone stepping over that boundary.

There are rumblings about this that strike me that google has poked a stick in the proverbial hornet nest. To borrow words from Dave Winer this is a "Content vs Technology" fight.

Just my thoughts for this morning.

[edited by: eventus at 2:20 pm (utc) on Feb. 18, 2005]

Soso

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 2:05 pm on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Tapolyai,

>>>
As a matter of fact,I retain all copyright to the web site, and I simply grant a non-exclusive, temporary license for the sole purpose of viewing it for however long I feel like it. :-D
<<<

Yes, you are right, but the point is, that you do not have a control of *how* it will be viewed. ;-) It has nothing to do with your copyright, since viewing is not republishing. Your work itself is copyrighted, but the platform you are using (WWW) don't belong to you, so you just can't decide how your work will be viewed. This is just an inherent feature of any web-based biz.

walkman



 
Msg#: 825 posted 2:29 pm on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

"The toolbar is not spyware because you can turn that function off. "

sure. And GAIN is not spyware because you can un-install it. Splitting hairs, aren't you?

max_mm

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 3:04 pm on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Would you let the US Postal Service read your mail from your family so that they can insert flyers into the handwritten pages and include ads for Campbells Chicken soup because your mom sends you her favorite chicken soup recipe?

Excellent point!

Come to think of it, they are turning into an ad serving machine.

Think about it, what ever services or tools they offer have one very distinct thing in common "Get as many eye balls on google pages as possible and consequently, more AD impressions and more clicks". Seams like they wont stop at nothing to reach this goal (privacy issues!?).

Think about it:
a) Gmail - billions more ad impressions per day
b) Bad SERPs - a few more billions impressions per day as users have to go to page 3 and 4 now to find what they are looking for.
c) Google search box over millions of web sites – a few billion more impressions
d) Google browser bar with the new content linking - trillion more impressions per day and the list goe's on and on. This goe's way beyond being innovative and raise some serious issues.

Where will it leave us webmasters?..... expect more bad news to come. And use that adsense income you are getting now and diversify...it will be gone soon. Google are getting closer to their required ad impressions targets (with all them questionable innovative new products they are unleashing slowly). I don't think they will need us much soon.

“Do no evil – leave it to google.” LOL

vabtz



 
Msg#: 825 posted 3:26 pm on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

b) Bad SERPs - a few more billions impressions per day as users have to go to page 3 and 4 now to find what they are looking for.

I have one minor objection to that.
That would assume that a user looks past page 2 for results which that don't IMO

grelmar

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 3:47 pm on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

the definition of spyware according to google:

[google.com.au...]

The g toolbar clearly crosses the line by the first two definitions.

If it walks like a duck and goes "quack=quack-quack"...

max_mm

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 4:09 pm on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have one minor objection to that.
That would assume that a user looks past page 2 for results which that don't IMO

vabtz, you'll be surprised how many hits i get from pages 4 and 5 nowdays.

gmiller

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 4:28 pm on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

What many here seem to be missing is that copyright law regulates the right to make copies, hence the name. The toolbar isn't making extra copies of your pages, so copyright is irrelevant. This area of the law has already been beaten to death. Print publishers tried for many decades to get used book sales banned. A number of companies sued over things like the Gator/Claria adware when the web started to boom. The courts, so far, have treated the Internet just like other media, so you're not likely to have any luck on that count.

If you want to sue, you'll have to find some means under existing law or get Congress and the President to create a law that benefits nobody but webmasters. I'm thinking we don't have enough votes to get the law changed. My advice? Fight a PR war. Smearing Google's reputation is the only weapon available.

eventus

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 4:59 pm on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

What Google is doing is analogous to taking a big stack of newspapers out of the news stand, opening up each newspaper and inserting advertising flyers between pages and then putting the papers back in the stand.

----

There is a really good book that I recommend regarding internet publishing and legal issues called "Law of the Web - A field guide to internet publising" by Jonathan D. Hart. I'll refrain from posting the ISBN here if you don't mind :-)

----

Namaste

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 8:59 pm on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

if google limits the application to maps it's ok. But I get the feeling this is a backdoor entry to other things

Mr_N

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 9:12 pm on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

My main concern is that one day Google will go from just making maps, to having all sorts of links, sort of like some of that PPC text advertising on some sites that is embedded right into the content of a page. When I visit a page that puts these sort of links on it, I find it aggravating getting them, and it just cheapens the look of a site.

Once Google tries to monetize these autolinks, it really wouldn't surprise me if the option was defaulted to being turned on upon download. If it does look like these autolinks are going to be problematic for my site, I'll just look for a way to block Google and the toolbar until the matter is resolved.

eventus

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 9:38 pm on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Also consider that Google is apparently developing a Browser and other applications. Just because this "enhancement" is limited to the toolbar now does not mean that it won't appear in other applications in the future.

You don't develop an application and then plan not to exploit it to it's full potential. That goes for any company.

To me it looks like Google is really trying to monopolize the web much like MicroSoft monopolizes the operating system.

To paraphrase Dave Winer's Blog:

When Google bought Blogger, they stated clearly that they would not do anything to tilt the table in favor of Blogger, but shortly after, within weeks, they broke that promise, ironically, using the Google Toolbar. Even worse, they would not engage in dialog. Those were very difficult times, and the people who were responsible may not even be at Google now. Who knows. But the fact is, you can't go by corporate promises in areas like this, and even if you could, their promises are not binding on other companies. It all may sound theoretic, but I've been around this block many times over many years.

jretzer

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 11:55 pm on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

I really can't see Google turning our pages into moneymaking links for them. If they do that, and my revenues fall to unacceptable levels, I will simply stop publishing web pages and find something else to do. And I suspect many others will too (other than those who are working on a purely altruistic level). This will mean less content for Google.

I also can't see them doing this without getting a fight from big publishers, i.e., the New York Times/About.com, etc.

akmac

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 12:29 am on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

"I really can't see Google turning our pages into moneymaking links for them."

......Adsense?

What do you call a corporation that makes all of it's money from advertising?

A. Search engine
B. Salami sandwich
C. Advertising agency

The difference is that with adsense, the site owners approve it and get a cut. It's not a stretch to imagine Googles motivation for removing the middle man-site owners-and this is one step closer.

I think most of us can agree that the end result of this technology is NOT providing links to maps.

jretzer

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 12:40 am on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Admak:

I think you misunderstood me. Of course I know about adsense. I use it. I just can't see them cutting the publishers out of it. If they do, the number of publishers will diminish. And THAT will hurt their bottom line. Unless they intend to generate all of the content themselves.

I run a site on an obscure hobby. And I know for sure of several advertisers who only signed up with google so that their ads show up on my site. If Google stopped paying, I probably would stop publishing. Google would lose those advertisers' payments.

akmac

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 2:05 am on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

jretzer:

I apologize. Looking over my post I sound condescending-which wasn't my intent, sorry.

The point I'm communicating is that (rightly or wrongly) many webmasters feel that Google is beginning to tread on their toes.

HughMungus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 3:17 am on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

I just can't see them cutting the publishers out of it.

Makes me wonder...what if Google decided to mitigate the bad PR from inserting links by paying publishers for clicks on those links (a la Adsense). I wonder how most of us (in "the industry") would feel then.

MultiMan

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 3:20 am on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

This TB idea is just another example proving how G$ can now "do only evil". And to think that G$ cultists accuse me of having a tin hat whan I have warned against the evils and privacy-invasion of the G$ TB.

Any G$ cultist who thinks the user has any "right" to change the content/display of a webmaster's site is forgetting 2 important legal issues:

1. Theft of copyright
2. Theft of bandwidth.

Think, folks, think!

In order for a surfer to obtain any webpage, the website server has to TRANSFER that data: bandwidth.

In addition to the cost of time of site development and of hosting the web-site's page, and the copyright value itself, it also costs a webmaster/owner the bandwidth to deliver that webpage to the user.

As such, anyone else interfering with how the content and layout of webpage is delivered -- in anyway except as according to the webmaster's specific design -- is a thief, both in copyright and bandwidth. Pure and simple.

Note: since pop-up blocking prevents the pop-up's content from even being delivered, it is obviously not comparable here.

The obvious bottom line is this. A webmaster's unnecessary TOS: "If you want to surf to my page, you see it my way, or you are a thief." A surfer has no right to anything else.

This TB idea could justifiably merit a massive, valid class action lawsuit by webmasters against G$!

HughMungus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 3:39 am on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

This discussion is making my head spin.

Now I'm wondering why no companies that have toolbars have ever put advertising in the bar (the biggies, anyway -- Yahoo, MSN, Alexa and Google -- other than Alexa/Amazon). For example, your toolbar reads the URL of the page you're on and puts a contextual ad up in some portion of the toolbar itself.

Why have no companies done this yet? I wonder if it's for the same reasons some here are against AutoLink.

jretzer

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 3:40 am on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

HughMungus:

If they paid for the clicks out, then I would still have an incentive to produce content. In fact, I think that might even be better than adsense, since every keyword on your site could potentially be a paying ad.

alvin123

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 6:12 am on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

"Google's browser toolbar is raising eyebrows over a feature that inserts new hyperlinks in Web pages, giving the Internet search provider a powerful tool to funnel traffic to destinations of its choice."
cnet [news.com.com]

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 8:17 pm (utc) on Feb. 19, 2005]
[edit reason] fixed sidescroll [/edit]

ddogg

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 8:38 am on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google had better re-think this thing. If I see my web pages being changed to link to Google I'm going to be so god damned pissed off it will be the last time I use Google search. MSN ain't half bad you know.

MultiMan

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 12:58 pm on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the news link.

From the article,

Google's director of Web products, Marissa Mayer,... said... "Google has great respect for copyright owners. They're the lifeblood of search."

Right. And "freedom is slavery."

That's just more of the standard cult mind control orwellian doublespeak that G$ always uses these days.

If they actually respected copyright owners, the issue would already be dead in the water. It's fundamentally impossible to respect copyright owners and still implement this copyright (and bandwidth) thievery. End of story.

communitynews

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 4:08 pm on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

This is going to be interesting how this plays out. Will Google pull the feature soon, a lawsuit by large publishers, a class action? How about AdSense publishers protesting by taking the ads off for a day as a protest?

Maybe Google will get smart and do something like allow publishers to put a tag on the page that will cause the feature to work but also pay the publisher.

Either I don't understand copyright law, Google doesn't or maybe they've decided to push on it. To me this is obviously infringing on copyrights. Google would be better off letting others push the limits.

Unfortunately for Google this shows a lack of respect for publishers' copyrights. I know this will be in the back of my mind for a long, long time even if it is resolved soon.

steve40

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 4:31 pm on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

its interesting but suspect there are ways webmasters will deal with it if G decide to do without the publisher being recompensed
One possible way will be to create all pages in PDF format which I do not think can be hyperlinked externally by this type of tag
Webmasters in general are resourcefull and will find ways round this or any other big brother mechanism

steve

max_mm

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 4:57 pm on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

I just installed the new tool bar, wanted to see the auto linking in action (before i call and have a chat with my legal adviser). I cannot find any setting to turn the auto linking thing on. Did they release the culprit allready or is it something they are planning on doing soon.

P.S.
I went over all possible settings in the new bar but can not find any option that mention auto linking.

Clark

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 5:19 pm on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't remember anyone mentioning this but what's with the "realnames" copycat feature?:
[toolbar.google.com...]

In other news, the story has hit eweek:
[eweek.com...]

grelmar

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 825 posted 7:26 pm on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

The other worrysome aspect of this, is that if G gets away with it, then it opens up the floodgates for other ToolBar developpers, and for MS to re-introduce Smart Tags.

A rose by any other name...

Once one of the "big guys" gets aways clean with this, kiss any semblance of content control goodbye.

This 168 message thread spans 6 pages: < < 168 ( 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 > >
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