Ready, Fire, Aim! - Mihail's Public Blog: Google links for you!

Thursday, March 3, 2005

Google links for you!

There is a fine line that Google is treading -- between adding features that provide greater convenience to users versus becoming the most powerful traffic policeman on the Web that directs traffic only where, when and how it wants. Google's new AutoLink, part of its Google Toolbar 3, is just that new feature treading a very, very fine line. And although Google claims it doesn't get any financial benefit from this feature at this time, it will, I'm sure once Google starts to try and monetize every aspect of its search services.

I've been using my older Google toolbard quite frequently since it allows me to very simply search things without having to go to the Google home page...but now with Amazon's A9.com and the better MSN Search, that my partner is using, I'm no longer as dependent on it and will have to decide soon whether I want to download the new toolbar for my new laptop. According to this Washington Post story:

You can see Google testing its limits, though, with a new feature called AutoLink that adds hyperlinks Google deems useful to the Web pages you visit. The idea is to automate the process of jumping from a street address to, say, a map, sparing users having to retype or copy the address.

...Google picked Amazon.com as the default book destination, she said, because it has the largest online database of ISBN numbers. But you can bet Barnes & Noble wasn't happy, even though the New York-based bookseller did not respond to my requests for comment. Initially, Google's toolbar transformed ISBN numbers on Barnes & Noble's Web site into hyperlinks leading to Amazon.com. In the past week, though, Barnes & Noble added its own internal ISBN links, so Google's AutoLink function no longer works on its site.

Hyperlinking their own content is the best way publishers can prevent Google from adding links to their pages, Mayer said, because Google's technology will not override existing links. She declined to comment on whether Barnes & Noble or other booksellers had complained.

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