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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




msg:1102278
 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..

 

communitynews




msg:1102428
 5:38 pm on Feb 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

MultiMan, many thanks for the link and keeping this thread alive.

I believe the answer to this is not programming that allows publishers to opt out.

I'll confess to being a Google cultist on some level but this toolbar issue has changed all that. Continuous pressure on Google to remove the feature or making it opt-in is what is needed. If Google wants to require AdSense publishers to opt-in or drop out of AdSense that is OK with me. Facilitating the changing of publisher content without permission with or without a click is not acceptable for any reason.

I had hoped that this was simply an overly aggressive department and a lack of controls but if that were the case it would have been withdrawn by now (I think).

Nothing less than a change as I've described AND a full apology to publishers with a promise not to modify content in the future will return me to my prior "Google cultist on some level" state.

grelmar




msg:1102429
 10:01 pm on Feb 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Another Google mailbox to load down with, erm, "suggestions"

toolbar-support@google.com

tntpower




msg:1102430
 11:49 pm on Feb 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think AutoLink will keep unchanged in its offical toolbar version. The answer is simple, affiliates only account for a small percentage of all web users. G$ will not care us.

MultiMan




msg:1102431
 3:32 am on Feb 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have nothing to do with affiliate systems. The issue of the AutoLink in G$'s TB is theft of original content, theft of copyright, and theft of bandwidth. Plain and simple.

MultiMan




msg:1102432
 3:46 am on Feb 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

communitynews,

I appreciate your thoughts.

Like many honest web developers, I too was once a loyal advocate of G before they became G$. That alone would not make me or anyone else like that a G$ cultist. But now just about everything G$ does creates a new destruction (et al). They outright betrayed us, and they continue to betray and betray us former supporters on a routine basis. This TB issue is now just one latest example of an ever increasing long line of examples of how now G$ can "do only evil." However, the true G$ cultists simply refuse to see or admit the truth of G$'s actions these days. Instead, the cultists preach their G$ cult propaganda of how supposedly everything about G$ is "right" no matter how obviously wrong in so many ways and examples. And they will promote the lie that somehow those of us who have non-mind-controlled eyes to see through the G$ cult tactics are somehow "conspirary theorists" or simply wear "tinfoil hats."

I believe the answer to this is not programming that allows publishers to opt out.

While I agree with your point in theory, I disagree in the end of the matter. The camel nose under the tent can still uproot the whole tent later. The real answer, as I see it, is that AutoLink must be abolished as an option. For me, end of story.

ThatAdamGuy




msg:1102433
 9:25 am on Feb 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Multiman, thanks for posting the feedback address. I know that Google actually reads all of their feedback, and I went ahead and sent some autolinks suggestions their way. Gist of my current feeling, after much reading here and on other sites: excellent idea, mediocre execution at present. So many things Google can do to make the tool better, and -- since it's still in an early beta stage -- I'm confident they WILL make it better.

I also think it's interesting to note that uber-geek (and IMHO quite-well-respected writer and technologist) Cory Doctorow has spoken out strongly in favor of the autolinks concept:

In small part:
And so on -- it's my screen, and I should be able to control it; companies like Google and individuals should be able to provide tools and services to let me control it.

Amen.

I hope others here will post their thoughts in this thread and e-mail Google directly to offer constructive suggestions on making the toolbar (autolinks function and beyond) more useful.

claus




msg:1102434
 12:08 pm on Feb 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

MultiMan, calm down - attacking ThatAdamGuy just because you disagree with him is not only against the TOS of WebmasterWorld, it's also making you look like a Troll, which is not the thing you would like to look like. It takes all the weight away from your better posts earlier in this thread.

I personally respect ThatAdamGuys point of view, but i disagree. I don't find this a nice feature. Imho, it sucks.

Anyway, that's not the reason i post this - i've got a simple question: On the Tbar page [toolbar.google.com] it says:

AutoLink (US only)
Turn street addresses into links to online maps

What's up with the "US Only" - is it only working on US IP machines, or is it only for US addresses or US websites, or what?

communitynews




msg:1102435
 1:32 pm on Feb 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

MultiMan,

I agree with claus that attacking ThatAdamGuy is counter productive here. You're right though; he does sound like a Google salesman.

ThatAdamGuy,

What do YOU think about changing content and the law regarding derivative works? Don't you think Google is facilitating the creation of unlicensed derivative works? Isn't that as bad as overlaying different ads on top of a publisher's ads like the gator crowd does?

max_mm




msg:1102436
 2:44 pm on Feb 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Nice spotting MultiMan,

I’ve been suspecting this to be the case all along but held back thinking “surly G$ wont go THAT low”….i’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

ThatAdamGuy said:
I also think it's interesting to note that uber-geek (and IMHO quite-well-respected writer and technologist) Cory Doctorow has spoken out strongly in favor of the autolinks concept:

In small part:
And so on -- it's my screen, and I should be able to control it; companies like Google and individuals should be able to provide tools and services to let me control it.

Amen.

That’s a load of balony.....” it's my screen, and I should be able to control it”. MS Office programs (or any other software) are also on your screen....imagine a company releasing a tool bar that turns all menu items in word into online sales link for linux distros....or better still, links the MS logos on the windows update page to the linux update site ..MS legal representatives will want to meet the developers in court the following day (software reverse engineering). Or imagine a tool bar that turns all adsense ads on web pages into overture ads.

Cory Doctorow can say what he likes....nothing changes the fact that it is an abuse of developers intellectual property and bandwidth thievery.

I’m the one who created (and own all rights to) my web site. It is MY intellectual property and only I should have a say on what links should display on MY pages. If the user doesn’t like it then the user can go back to where he/she came from and search for another site. That simple!

[edited by: max_mm at 3:00 pm (utc) on Feb. 28, 2005]

Imaster




msg:1102437
 2:56 pm on Feb 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Or imagine a tool bar that turns all adsense ads on web pages into overture ads.

Spot on! Then we will see if Google says good things about such a tool.

communitynews




msg:1102438
 3:02 pm on Feb 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I’m the one who created (and own all rights to) my web site. It is MY intellectual property and only I have a say on what links should display on MY pages. If the user doesn’t like it then the user can go back to where he/she came from and search for another site. That simple!

I agree with this 100% but as I think about it doesn't that apply to pop-up blockers too?

If, as a publisher, I want a pop-up ad to appear then it should and no pop-up blocker should prevent that. Pop-up blockers are facilitating the creation of unlicensed derivative works just like the autolink feature.

Because I hate pop-ups and wouldn't push them on my users I never looked at it this way.

buckworks




msg:1102439
 3:03 pm on Feb 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

... and then there's Norton ....

max_mm




msg:1102440
 3:17 pm on Feb 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I agree with this 100% but as I think about it doesn't that apply to pop-up blockers too?

Pop-ups open in a new second window and without the user permission or request. The user has every right to block the window if he/she so wish....he was forced to load the pop-up to begin with, it is costing him more bandwidth, and system resources . Forcing your will on a viewer without giving the him/her the option to opt out/in is in clear violation of free speech and online etiquette. Just like what the google's new autolink feature IS to site owners BTW.

Pop-ups are a completely different issue and can not be compared or argued from the same prospective. They are clearly in the wrong to begin with and the user has every right to block them.

Lets not start spliting hairs please.

MultiMan




msg:1102441
 4:28 pm on Feb 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I agree with this 100% but as I think about it doesn't that apply to pop-up blockers too?

Max_mm is right.

Blocking a popup prevents a separate page from even being delivered - so no bandwidth usage of the website server. And the blocker is not modifying the content on that popup page either. The issue here is not comparable at all with AutoLink.

BTW, I have attacked no one on this thread. Outing someone is not the same thing as attacking at all.

MultiMan




msg:1102442
 4:53 pm on Feb 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

communitynews,

You're missing the point.
Blocking a popup prevents a separate page from even being delivered

How can there be any derivative works issue when the blocked popup page is not even being delivered?

There is a difference between the user refusing to see something at all (i.e., popup blocking) vs. the user allowing software to actually re-write the copyrighted content they do see (i.e., AutoLink). And in the former, no bandwidth is costing the web-site, whereas the latter steals the web-site's bandwidth.

MultiMan




msg:1102443
 5:10 pm on Feb 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Also,

Technologically, any web-site that insists on its popup being viewed can instead, with the correct coding, make the content-page-display be contingent upon the popup's successful display. The content page can test to see if the popup page is first displayed, and if not, refuse to send the content to the user. (Yes, they will likely anger the user, but if that's what the webmaster prefers, so be it. It's their site, after all.)

Those websites who are using popups are not the everyday webmasters, in most cases anyway. Indeed, most webmasters tend to reject using popups, knowing their users do not like popups. So, because those who do use popups are the ones who are so out of the ordinary, then they are the ones who can do what they feel they must in order to ensure that popups do work on their pages, if that's their requirement before allowing a user to view their content pages.

Contrast that with AutoLink, which seeks to exploit all the everyday webmasters' websites, without their permission and without their being able to stop it. And even if there does become an opt-out option for webmasters, most ordinary webmasters may likely not even know the option even exists.

(How many ordinary webmasters will ever even know about - or how to install - the offered anti-AutoLink javascript previously mentioned in this thread, for example?)

So, again, and in every single way, AutoLink is not comparable with the popup issue. Very simple.

ThatAdamGuy




msg:1102444
 6:39 pm on Feb 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm somewhat reluctant to respond to the "when did you stop beating your wife" stuff, but let me put some stuff to rest:

1) I am not a Google employee, a contractor, etc.... much less GoogleGuy. I do not work for Google.

2) I am, frankly, not likely to ever be a Google employee for a variety of personal reasons.

3) I have written a number of Google of criticisms here and elsewhere; ironically, one of them was deleted here on WW bcause it was deemed inflamatory. I don't believe Google can do no wrong.

3) I am a Webmaster, and I understand and appreciate Webmaster issues. I work with a number of Fortune 500 companies on their Web site communications, and though I'm sure some would disagree with my sentiments on WW, I speak only for myself here... espousing my beliefs and preferences.

4) How do I know that Google reads all the feedback it gets? As I noted earlier in this thread, I have a bunch of friends at Google, including several that READ AND PROCESS FEEDBACK (none of my friends work on or have worked on the Gtoolbar, btw). Call me naive, call me a shill, call me anything but late for dinner, but I believe my friends when they tell me that every piece of feedback is read.

Anyway, that's it. I'm out of this thread. I feel like a lone Democrat who -- thinking himself at a gentlemanly debate -- actually ends up at a Young Republicans meeting.

Oh wait, just one more thing: If anyone here has a serious problem with me or my postings, please don't clutter up the boards with your complaints. I have thick skin, but it's likely annoying to others here. Take it up with one of the moderators, who at minimum can surely verify that I'm not a Google employee.

eventus




msg:1102445
 7:40 pm on Feb 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

[time.com...]

Thankfully the major media is starting to pay attention to this issue but unfortunately Google's comments make it look unlikely that they will respond. From what I am reading and hearing Google plans to expand on AutoLinks in the future.

Bad Google!

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