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[P]
Google's AutoLink: getting to the real issue

By ubernostrum in Op-Ed
Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 06:10:21 AM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

Recently there's been something of an explosion in the weblogging world over the "AutoLink" feature in Google's new toolbar. If the hype is to be believed, AutoLink is pure evil. Except you shouldn't believe the hype, and it's not AutoLink that people are really up in arms about.


What is AutoLink?

First of all, it helps to know just what's causing all this hysteria; luckily, Google has provided a helpful explanation of what it is and how it works. In essence, AutoLink is a feature of the Google Toolbar (an add-on for Internet Explorer on Windows which integrates Google search, spell-checking, popup blocking and other utilities into the browser) which, at your request, will try to add helpful links to web pages for certain types of content. As Google puts it:

The online review of a great new restaurant has the place's address but no map. You could type the restaurant's street, city, and ZIP code into the search box, but why bother, when clicking the Toolbar's AutoLink button will automatically create a link to an online map (US addresses only)? AutoLink can also link package tracking numbers to delivery status, VIN numbers (US) to vehicle history, and publication ISBN numbers to Amazon.com listings.

Before we go any further, take note of that: AutoLink, by default, does nothing. It only adds links to a page when you ask it to. And it only adds links on four types of items: US street addresses, package tracking numbers, Vehicle Identification Numbers and ISBNs. That's it.

The controversy begins

I'm not really certain who first sounded off about AutoLink, but certainly one of the most vocal critics has been Dave Winer (a major player in the weblog world, he's notable for having been involved in the popularization of RSS and of automated weblogging tools); his Scripting News weblog has run several comments indicating his opinion: that this is simply the first step down a slippery slope which will end with third parties slipping their advertisements into his pages via client-side applications, and that he won't see a dime from it. But mainly he's known for a longish article he posted claiming that this is adware and asking to have it become "opt-in" (where the Toolbar would only work on a given page if the author of the page had given explicit permission for it to do so). He also draws an analogy between AutoLink and Microsoft's proposed "Smart Tags" feature for Internet Explorer (which would have done the same thing, but for broader types of content and would have been enabled by default).

Other notables have agreed with Winer; for example, Microsoft's Robert Scoble picked up the flag and carried on, proclaiming that

I believe that anything that changes the linking behavior of the Web is evil. Anything that changes my content is evil. Particularly anything that messes with the integrity of the link system. And I do see this as a slippery slope. Today users have to jump through hoops to use this feature. What about tomorrow?

Meanwhile, ur-web designer Jeffrey Zeldman not only concurred with these opinions but also pointed out the existence of a bit of Javascript meant to disable the AutoLink feature.

And Tim Bray of Sun, who you might remember for his work creating XML, joined in today, echoing the "evil" claim and threatening possible legal action:

It seems so obvious that this move is not only evil but stupid; I keep hearing that MSN is pretty good these days, but Microsoft isn't trustworthy, so I don't go there. If I don't trust Google either, all bets are off. Anyhow, this is a policy problem not a technical problem, so here's a suggestion: perhaps our friends at Creative Commons could have a look and develop a professional legal opinion as to whether their licenses, like the one I use, are infringed by AutoLink (my non-professional opinion is that Google's damn close to the edge). If not, perhaps they could create a variant license that clearly rules it out of order. Then Google stops, or we sue their ass.

And that's only the tip of the iceberg; start searching for "autolink" and you'll pull up many more opinions like these.

The other side, and the real problem

While Winer et al. have been attacking AutoLink, a number of people have been calmly debunking their arguments, often in amusing ways. First and foremost has to be weblogger Yoz Grahame, whose satirical and serious responses are all quite cogent. in particular, Grahame provided a direct response to Winer's question of "where's the line":

If a content-modifying function:

  1. has a definition that is completely understood by the user
  2. is only invocable at the user's request and in isolation (i.e. not automatically)
  3. has an effect limited to the user who invoked it

... then it's entirely within the spirit of the Web, no matter what modification it performs. No exceptions.

And over at Phil Ringnalda's weblog, an interesting discussion sprung up when Phil posted a bookmarklet to counteract the anti-AutoLink script (anyone remember the days of the anti-anti-missile missile missile?); in particular, Phil's somewhat facetious point against the "don't modify my content" crowd is good:

I can't trust my readers (an unsavory lot, though I love them dearly) to understand the sacred nature of your every word (some of them *gasp* will even copy text and paste it elsewhere!), so I removed your link. Let me know when you are providing your "web"log as either a signed PDF or one large image, so that they may be trusted to behave according to your anti-web rules, and I'll put it back.

Which really gets at the heart of the problem: the main argument being made here is "it's my content and you aren't allowed to fiddle with it", but fiddling with the content is basically what web surfers do. Every person who disables popup advertisements has fiddled with the content of pages. Every person who uses an ad-removing proxy or plugin has fiddled with the content of pages. People who use plugins to get links to dictionary definitions or Wikipedia articles on things they're unfamiliar with fiddle with the content of pages. Every person who prints out a web page fiddles with its content. And Winer, Scoble, Zeldman, Bray and their comrades-in-arms have never raised their voices about any of this, leading newly-minted professional weblogger Jason Kottke to demolish the double standard and point out the real issue:

Now, if you're against AutoLink because you think Google is becoming too big, they're evil, they're abusing their power, or they bought another blog company instead of yours, then that's fine. Just be up front about why you're upset. It's a trust issue. Do you trust Google's software to do what it says its going to do and not take advantage of you? If the answer is no, don't use it. But if you're saying that Google should not provide this feature at all and that consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes can't choose to use the feature themselves, I don't think that's a good deal for the users. As content providers, let's not try and reach into our readers' computers and dictate what they can or can't do with the copies of our content that they've downloaded for their personal use...let's leave that sort of wishful thinking to the nutballs in Hollywood.

AutoLink isn't an issue, Google is

Setting aside the delicious irony of comparing the anti-autolink folks to supporters of the broadcast flag, I think Kottke gets to the heart of the issue: no matter how much this gets dressed up as an issue about preserving the integrity of content, it's really an issue of fear. And the people who are crying out against AutoLink aren't afraid of AutoLink; as Phil Ringnalda pointed out, they're not the sort who need to fear it:

There are two classes of people who have strong reason to fear AutoLink, who as far as I can tell from the parts of your site that I run across are also people frequently found among your readers: people whose business model is "get search engine visitors to funnel in, and make sure that the only exits available are through an affiliate link" -- it amuses me to think of them as sheep ranchers, herding the searching sheep through their corrals, and, people whose business model is "get search engine visitors to buy because they think I'm the only place to buy, because if they knew they could get it elsewhere for 40% off with free shipping, they would" -- as with the classic mushroom farming management technique of keeping them in the dark and feeding them bullshit, that's what you need to do for that sort of business, and a link that allows for price comparison is a nightmare.

So what are they really crying out against? As Kottke points out, and as Tim Bray openly admits, they're afraid of Google: there's a growing fear in several circles that Google will become "the next Microsoft". Which, really, is how we get things like the AutoLink controversy; AutoLink probably doesn't violate anyone's copyright any more than scribbling in the margins of a book does, but to people who were alrady afraid of Google and suspected it of monopolistic tendencies, this is too close to Microsoft's Smart Tags and so must be stopped.

But as Kottke says, if that's really the reason why people are up in arms about AutoLink (and I think it is), then they should be honest about it; obscuring the argument behind FUD about copyright and modified content doesn't do anybody any good.

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Poll
AutoLink?
o Pretty handy. 22%
o Meh. 62%
o Pure evil. 11%

Votes: 53
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Google
o something of an explosion
o provided a helpful explanation
o Scripting News
o several
o comments
o a longish article he posted
o picked up the flag and carried on
o pointed out
o a bit of Javascript
o joined in today
o MSN
o Creative Commons
o the one I use
o Yoz Grahame
o satirical
o serious
o responses
o an interesting discussion sprung up
o point against the "don't modify my content" crowd
o prints out a web page
o demolish the double standard and point out the real issue
o to the nutballs in Hollywood
o they're not the sort who need to fear it
o Also by ubernostrum


Display: Sort:
Google's AutoLink: getting to the real issue | 164 comments (153 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
I think you're right. (2.78 / 14) (#1)
by aphrael on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 03:45:41 PM EST

The real issue is Google. There's an army of geeks who are biased against anything which looks like it might be large enough to have real power; whose dislike for large corporations verges on the paranoid; and who will grumble loudly. There's also an army of Microsoft employees and supporters who see Google as a threat and will form alliances with such grumblers for tactical reasons.

I think the whole thing is overblown, though. I dislike large corporations fairly intensely - but I don't see Google as a threat to the web; everything they've ever done has been "cool", and most of it has been innovative. And they are, ultimately, still a small company, without technical control over the web (in the way that Microsoft has technical control over Windows). This is all just noise about nothing.

They're a public company now; (3.00 / 2) (#22)
by jongleur on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 10:45:36 PM EST

the founders can't simply do whatever cool things they want anymore, they're obligated to do whatever makes the most money. This is only a general argument, I don't know what proportion of ownership / control they retain, but google's benevolence is not necessarily under their control anymore.
--
"If you can't imagine a better way let silence bury you" - Midnight Oil
[ Parent ]
On the contrary (none / 0) (#132)
by Mysidia on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 05:28:38 PM EST

Image is important... if they did anything at all to risk wrecking their benevolent image they'd be in danger of making less money.



-Mysidia the insane @k5
[ Parent ]
It's not just the paranoid geeks. (3.00 / 4) (#45)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:55:24 AM EST

It's also the designers, who don't like the idea of their design being screwed up by having the misconceived idea that 100's of links will appear and cause layout and aesthetic problems.

I have to say, I was sort of siding on that side until I read the above (I haven't really been paying attention to this issue). But given that it does so little, I can't see it causing many problems, even aesthetic ones.

Designers need to accept the idea that their design may be viewed differently to what they intended. The adoption of CSS does show some acceptance. Perhaps it's because they know that only a small group will see it differently, but with the Autolink, a much larger group will see a modified version of their design.

If they think Autolink is a problem, then why are they not up in arms about Firefox extensions. This Autolink feature is quite different to what MS tried to do a while ago.

[ Parent ]

I don't know how you can say that (1.66 / 3) (#60)
by emagius on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 09:42:12 AM EST

With Gmail's butchery of e-mail (via the automatic hidden quoting) and Google's multiple attempts at explicitly blocking alternative web browsers, such as Opera, from Google's sites, I don't see how one can claim Google has been "cool" (or nice).

[ Parent ]
Blocking Opera? (3.00 / 2) (#95)
by ubernostrum on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:51:04 PM EST

I've used Opera quite a bit and never had a problem with Google.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
My complaint about autolink (2.66 / 6) (#2)
by godix on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 04:21:53 PM EST

It, and other google toolbar features, doesn't work on Firefox. I'm stuck using a form of google toolbar that some nerd somewhere cobbled together except they left out half the functions. CURSE YOU GOOGLE!


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
Yeah, what the hell? (none / 1) (#19)
by rusty on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 08:51:59 PM EST

Is there any reason at all not to have a google toolbar for Mozilla? That's always puzzled me. All their other stuff is so aggressively cross-platform.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Too true.. but. (none / 0) (#26)
by The Amazing Idiot on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 11:18:27 PM EST

I use a modified Debian browser-startup page on my machines. Hits local machine and has multiple searches. Also links to common "time sinks" ;-P

Really no reason to use a toolbar except for easy turning on and off certain features (like turning on/off inline images or flash or whatnot).

[ Parent ]

"Opt-in" (2.75 / 8) (#4)
by eejit on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 05:08:23 PM EST

and asking to have it become "opt-in", whatever that means.
I would imagine opt-in means exactly what it says; the user has to request the service before it can be used.

How isn't it opt-in anyway? The user has to actually press a button to use AutoLink, right? Typical blogger scare-mongering and whining.

What he means (3.00 / 5) (#6)
by ubernostrum on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 05:30:02 PM EST

Is that unless he puts a tag in his page, or specifically signs up with Google, then Google's toolbar shouldn't be allowed to do anything on his pages whether users want it to or not.

In other words, he wants opt-in for authors, not users.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
Which is idiotic. (none / 1) (#117)
by DavidTC on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 07:17:17 PM EST

I mean, not just morally. It's idiotic because the whole thing exists because of failure of the authors to create useful links.

If they want to opt out, they can make it where I can click on addresses and look them up. They can link ISBNs to whoever they want, etc. Then google, amazingly, won't relink them to all the evil places it's relinking them.

The idea of opting out of someone else improving their page is idiotic.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Further content modification (2.71 / 7) (#5)
by killmepleez on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 05:15:10 PM EST

An idea struck me while thinking about all this content-mod hubbub. What if a devout muslim grew tired of finding his children reading religious news/analysis by unbelievers which do not apply the appropriate tags of respect to figures in his religion, and he developed a similar application which would re-format all pages to insert, after Allah or Mohammed, phrases such as "Whose justice is inexorable" or "May peace be upon his descendants" -- is this type of modification a violation of "the spirit of the web" and worthy of legal threat?

__
"I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
--from "J
As long as... (3.00 / 2) (#9)
by evilmeow on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 06:29:00 PM EST

...his children can turn it on and off freely, and as long as it doesn't interfere with them browsing porn sites, it can only be evil in his own eyes, which is more or less the bloggers are whining about. They think they know better and they think that being the prominent stars of the blogging community they deserve to have their opinion considered.

Here's an obligatory quote from South Park: "Sometimes lying is ok, like when you know what's good for people more than they do."

"[O]ne thing is certain: people are certifiably historically myopic"

[ Parent ]
The Encheferizer (3.00 / 3) (#17)
by rusty on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 08:45:55 PM EST

There's a zillions things out there that do that already, turning text into Swedish-Chef like borkings and a whole plethora of other mungings and reinterpretations. None of this is anything new at all. I tend to agree that it's fear of Google that the motivator here, not the actual workings of autolink.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Yeah, the usual bidznits crap. (2.80 / 5) (#10)
by evilmeow on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 06:41:35 PM EST

People get used to the bidznits models which allow them to get away with not doing jack shit and having money pour in. Come on, who wouldnt love to just put a website that tops everyone and sell shit without lifting a finger? Better yet, not actually sell anything (too much work, shipping, support, returns, billing, you name it) but whore up commissions from getting people to buy shit from someone else?

Of course people would be whining when their lovely parasite outfits are threatened by the technology. I mean, price comparison and modification of their worthless content would divert the cash elsewhere - like where it should belong - where the prices are cheaper, service is better and websites suck less ass. That's what the competition's all about. The so called affiliate marketers are worse than big monopolies - they're small wannabe monopolies, and there's lots of them. Microsoft doesn't whine. It either buys off the offenders, cashes up or, cornered down, innovates on expense of their bottomless barrel of funds. The little self-proclaimed Wallmarts of the Internet don't have that power, but they have the combined power of whining. That's where the whine stench's coming from. Darn convenient... "But mooooooooom! Profit is a riiiiight, and not a priiiiivilege!".

The bloggers are just retarded. Blogging is about whining. And it's always better to whine about something lots of people would be afraid of either because they don't understand it or because they don't feel like getting back to actually doing work again. Gets you lots of hits on the counter and makes your ego feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Meh.

"[O]ne thing is certain: people are certifiably historically myopic"

Reason # 945,126,092 to hate bloggers (2.25 / 8) (#12)
by godix on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:12:08 PM EST

There's an arguement about this? Jesus chirst, these bloggers should just go ahead and submit their resumes to the RIAA. They certainly have the 'how dare someone somewhere view content in an way that we didn't approve' attitude to do well in that career.

Incidently, the other 945,126,091 reasons to hate bloggers also directly relates to what they write.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.

OMG BLOGGLES!!!1 (none / 0) (#102)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 12:51:42 AM EST

Isn't it funny how it's always these idiot blog people who complain about anything? None of the other websites compain. Oh... Wait a minute... That's probably because blogs represent a larger proportion of the population and are generally about expressing ones opinoins.

Oh well. I guess some people are just too stupid to realise that blogs are just a prefered choice to express an opinion for many people, and that if blogs didn't exist, they'd be still be expressing it some way or another.

Crap blogs are crap. But there is always crap around, and what's worse that crap blogs are idiots who think that blogs themselves are the cause of the crap, rather than the people who write crap content.

Don't Hate the Media!

[ Parent ]

Out of curiosity (none / 1) (#106)
by godix on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 04:34:03 AM EST

Don't you have a blog you can post pointless rants like that to instead of wasting them on K5? Content man, content. You can't attract people to your blog and become king of the angsty wannabe goth nerds if you spread your content to sites that aren't your blog. Look at Dave Winer, he's a 'major player in the weblog world' because he saves his stupidity for his own site instead of posting it here. He wouldn't be a major player if he posted his crap here, he'd just be... well... like me.

Great. Now I'm depressed. Thanks a fucking lot.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]

No. I don't have a blog. (none / 0) (#107)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 05:43:39 AM EST

Like I said. Like most things, blogs are mostly crap. Blogs of angsty wannabe goth nerds fall into the crap catagory, and I have no interest in those types of blogs.

[ Parent ]
Google's AutoLink: Is it evil enough? (2.20 / 5) (#13)
by Phssthpok on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:21:43 PM EST

I run a small evil-based website, and a good deal of its functionality would be compromised if the Google Toolbar were to insert links to non-evil sites such as Amazon. Is anybody standing up for the evil underdog in this situation?
____________

affective flattening has caused me to kill 11,357 people

Google: Too Big for it's Britches (2.00 / 3) (#20)
by thelizman on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 09:25:26 PM EST

I'm afraid google has finally made that transition from much beloved post dot-com Internet startup to cash engorged behemoth, and is now the target of anti-corporate hate mongers. This is evidenced by the irrational outcry over a feature most people have already been building into their browsers visa vie toolbar and plugins.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
Dun think so matey.. (2.00 / 2) (#24)
by The Amazing Idiot on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 11:08:58 PM EST

As long as Google's operating principle is "Do No Harm", they'll be fine.

The second they start requiring people to use obtuse browsers, plugins, or other obnoxious crapware to use Google's search services is when they fall and hard.

After all, there's more than Google out there. And Google, for some reason (hmm...) doesnt index certain interesting things. It's almost as they're voluntarially filtering certain words and articles.

[ Parent ]

You don't mean like (1.50 / 2) (#38)
by thelizman on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 01:22:54 AM EST

...how Google Toolbar only ever worked on Internet Explorer? Bad news friend; it's all voluntary. I'll never understand why people expend so much effort bitching about things like google autolink or atm fees, but they sit passively like hindu cows being trucked into a beef plant when the government tries to up their taxes.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Interesting (none / 0) (#49)
by trezor on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 06:28:08 AM EST

    And Google, for some reason (hmm...) doesnt index certain interesting things. It's almost as they're voluntarially filtering certain words and articles.

Care to bring up some examples? I'm not challenging your statement or anything, I'm just curious.


--
Richard Dean Anderson porn? - Now spread the news

[ Parent ]
I'm not certain (none / 1) (#53)
by ubernostrum on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 07:05:05 AM EST

But I'd guess he's referring to the fact that you couldn't find the Abu Ghraib photos in Google's image index. Turns out Google hadn't updated its image index in months, so they'd never crawled a site that had the photos.

No story there, move along...




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
A good example is.. (none / 0) (#65)
by The Amazing Idiot on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 10:20:33 AM EST

Anything that is in current courts about.

Clambake was a big one that was "wiped" for a while.

As was Kazaa-hacked or whatever. You instead, had to search legal documents to find where to download it.

And also, I use lots of other search engines. Just things dont seem to be in Google's DB that Im interested in...

[ Parent ]

Well.. (none / 0) (#94)
by ubernostrum on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:50:08 PM EST

I've always thought their policy of removing listings and then linking to Chilling Effects was a nice compromise between covering their asses and making a fuss about the evil of the DMCA.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
You mean.... (3.00 / 2) (#121)
by DavidTC on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 08:04:51 PM EST

...when they were legally required by the court to stop linking to something, so instead whenever a search would have turned up those results, they instead put a huge warning at the top of the page that their index had been censored? And then they gave you a link to a website about the case, where you could, entirely coincidentally, find those links right at the top of that page?

And they did it on any search that would have returned those results anywhere. So people entirely innocently looking for information on clambakes or clams or anything got the huge warning and a link, even if those documents would have been several hundred pages into the search results.

Yeah, how dare those bastards at Google not skirt even closer to contempt of court! They should have declared war on the US and kept those links up until their connectivity was shut off by court order! That would have shown those Scientology people that it doesn't pay to mess with people, because you'll just make those people go out of business...

Google's behavior during that was nothing short of genius. They got sued so no one would find some documents, and instead everyone started finding links to a page about Scientologists are a bunch of assholes, and there the documents are they're suing over.

If you're complaining about it, you obviously have learn about it secondhand via FUD about google. There are stupid evil things google has done, like work with repressive governments to keep information away from people, but Clambake wasn't one of them.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

What about the... (2.00 / 3) (#23)
by The Amazing Idiot on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 11:06:13 PM EST

Situation Copyright has?

My beef (of what there is..) with the AutoLink is that it possibly violates copyright.

First, all works made are auto-copyrighted in the US.

Second, it's to my understanding (whoever doesnt agree can suck it) that you give a implict copyright  permission for someone to READ a webpage that you made. Multiple copies are made through various devices which copy your work. It hits your screen and you read a rendering of the same HTML/Java/XML/..  .

Ok, AutoLink is shimming between the monitor and the network device and MODIFYING the website code, so it's a derived work. Google does not have EXPLICT permission from the copyright owners to modify (with exception to parodies- Weird al and like) any webpage, which is what Google's dowing.

Now whether I agree with Google, time'll tell. If its a nice button on the tilebar of Mozilla of (ORIGINAL) or (AUTOLINK ON), I'd like it. If I have to go through (edit) (properties) (Google) (autolink) and then open the dialog box and then pull down a badly placed pulldown menu, I'd hate it.

And it nicely pokes a finger at our aging copyright system. Not that I disagree with it, but do you need to obtain a copyright license for EVERY copy made, even if it's only in the device for .0005 seconds? That'd be an awfully ot of money.

Nonsense (2.85 / 7) (#31)
by rusty on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 12:36:51 AM EST

Google's auto-link modifies a web page for one user at that user's explicit request. There's no redistribution of the modified work, so there's no copyright issue.

The equivalent argument is that if I page through my copy of Terry Pratchett's The Truth and snip out every instance of the word "it" with tiny tiny golden scissors and put it back on my shelf then I'm violating Terry and Lynn Pratchett's copyright to that work. That's just hogwash.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Ok, for a rebuttal. (none / 0) (#37)
by The Amazing Idiot on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 01:14:37 AM EST

How about if what you suggested was implemented.

Say you would hand-edit all "Catcher In The Rye" to eliminate all naughty words with a felt pen (or scissors, whatever). And for this, you charged a 5$ fee to mark/cut the offending words.

Clean Flicks did exactly that with movies. Clean Flicks bought legit movies, edited (in a 1-1 fashion to avoid illegal copying) each and then sold the DVD's with the price they paid for them and a 'edit fee'.

From my understanding, this case has not been resolved, but the company is still in operation.

[ Parent ]

They distributed the work. (none / 1) (#42)
by ubernostrum on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 02:16:09 AM EST

Google's not distributing anything, unless reflowing content on the page is considered "distribution".




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
Yes they are. (none / 0) (#63)
by The Amazing Idiot on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 10:16:53 AM EST

They're distributing a program to "Modify web sourcecode".

It's a step in the reverse direction, but Google is giving out a program to "cut up that book" on everybody's machine. And because of their bias (public corporation), they have a greater responsibility to upholding copyright.

The way a lawyer would see this is thus:

Server => network => Client
This is guaranteed legal provided that server offers a public source for the copyrighted material in question.

Server => network => Google Agent (MODIFIED) => Client
Questionable. Program is agent of Google and does will of Google.

Big question: Is Google's program considered an agent of google, and if so, is its modification considered a derived source?

[ Parent ]

Google's Toolbar is acting on orders from the user (3.00 / 2) (#68)
by simon farnz on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 10:48:45 AM EST

The toolbar may be written and distributed by Google, but it does not modify the page unless the user requests it. The toolbar is thus doing what the user has requested, not what Google has requested.

If AutoLink functions automatically, your argument has merit. As it is, it changes my local copy of the work, which I have to receive to view the work anyway. I do not redistribute said work, so I cannot infringe copyright.

The company that redistributed modified DVDs was breaking the law because it was redistributing copyrighted works without permission. Had it modified DVD players to accept an EDL, then distributed unmodified DVDs with an EDL that you could install on the DVD player, they wouldn't have been in breach of copyright, as the user makes the modifications themselves.

If AutoLink requested by the user is illegal under copyright law, then so are both nVidia's and ATI's binary drivers for Linux; the combination of a Linux kernel and one of their drivers is not redistributable (breach of either nVidia's/ATI's copyright, or breach of the copyright on the kernel). Should Google be found liable for providing the user with the ability to make a non-redistributable derived work for their own use, nVidia and ATI are both liable too.
--
If guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns
[ Parent ]

let's just outlaw the Internet, shall we? (none / 1) (#71)
by ceejayoz on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 11:28:29 AM EST

They're distributing a program to "Modify web sourcecode".

So're Microsoft and Mozilla.

Big question: Is Google's program considered an agent of google, and if so, is its modification considered a derived source?

If it is, you've just banned just about every browser extension.

[ Parent ]

Big question: (none / 1) (#91)
by ubernostrum on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:40:10 PM EST

At any point in its functioning, does Google's AutoLink make copies of a page which it distributes to third parties?

Big answer: no. The only copy of the page involved is the one which stays in front of the user; some JavaScript is run on the page which changes it in place, and no copies or distributino are involved. Thus I see no case whatsoever for a copyright violation.

Your problem is that you assume that changing the copy in front of the user is a violation of copyright, yet even to render the page the browser often has to change it (for example, if the page contains invalid HTML, the browser doesn't display it that way; instead it generates a DOM tree coresponding to how it thinks the HTML should have been). And dozens, if not hundreds, of existing plugins and extensions perform further modification and no one's yet complained that this is a copyright violation.

To me, AutoLink is the digital equivalent of scribbling notes in the margin of a book, and that's a protected activity.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
Big Answer. (1.00 / 2) (#98)
by The Amazing Idiot on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 11:30:30 PM EST

---At any point in its functioning, does Google's AutoLink make copies of a page which it distributes to third parties?

If you look at it as a Lawyer would, Google's program is the "party" (and Google as the target), and that program under Google's control transfers the modified content to the  third party, You.

---Big answer: no.

Really? Im trying to ask the big question, not some super-answer to use aganst every law question.

---The only copy of the page involved is the one which stays in front of the user; some JavaScript is run on the page which changes it in place, and no copies or distributino are involved. Thus I see no case whatsoever for a copyright violation.

Ok, bloggers are mad now cause they lose money from ads and stuff. You simply cant sue cause your  business decision lost money in the future. Instead, I see a fight against copyright.

---Your problem is that you assume that changing the copy in front of the user is a violation of copyright, yet even to render the page the browser often has to change it (for example, if the page contains invalid HTML, the browser doesn't display it that way; instead it generates a DOM tree coresponding to how it thinks the HTML should have been).

Best fit and INTENTIONAL modification are 2 different things. When the code is bad, fixing it is respectable.

---And dozens, if not hundreds, of existing plugins and extensions perform further modification and no one's yet complained that this is a copyright violation.

Well, the other part I rely in is that this program is sonsored by a For-Profit public Corporation. My big question is whether Google's "Personhood" is transferred to programs that are under their control (not the act of it being on or off, but what it does when its on).

If Googles "personhood" is transmitted to the program, then YOU ARE the 3'rd party, hence illegal distribution of a copyrighted work.

---To me, AutoLink is the digital equivalent of scribbling notes in the margin of a book, and that's a protected activity.

"On the Internet" doesnt seem to apply to Copyright law. All the paradigms have changed but the old rules are still in effect.

[ Parent ]

Again, you don't get it. (3.00 / 2) (#105)
by ubernostrum on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 03:08:22 AM EST

Google is not distributing anything. Google is not making copies of anything. A user of AutoLink is not dustributing anything. A user of AutoLink is not making copies of anything. All that's happening is that the page being displayed to the user is modified in place. No copies, no distribution == no copyright issue.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
Innapropriate Analogy (3.00 / 2) (#73)
by NoBeardPete on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 01:39:09 PM EST

What google is doing is more similar to the following scenario. You sell a kit that one might use to edit books to clean them up. The kit consists of white out, a pen, and a thick black marker. It includes instructions on what words one should black out, and what words should be white-outed and replaced with a tamer alternative.

Google isn't editing anything. They aren't distributing any copyrighted works. They aren't distributing any derivative works of copyrighted works. They are distributing a tool that a user might edit a copyrighted work with.


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!
[ Parent ]

according to that logic (none / 1) (#43)
by QuantumG on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 02:58:32 AM EST

rendering a web page is unlawful. That's just stupid.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
Make everything illegal.... (none / 0) (#62)
by The Amazing Idiot on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 10:11:36 AM EST

And choose not to prosecute. And my key idea is here is that you have a implied copyright extension to read their public works.

The difference is a for-profit company (in this case, google), is capitalizing on modifying Copyrighted source. Derivation from a copyrighted source requires Explict permission.

Thats the objectionable point. Not that "perple are guaranteed profit" or other hip catch phrases. It has to do with the absurdities of copyright law and how modifications and digital copies are dealt with.

Do I have the answers? Hell no. I just quantify the problem.

[ Parent ]

You forget.. (none / 1) (#79)
by Kwil on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 03:04:09 PM EST

..fair use.

The content originally presented is all still fully attributed to the author in question, all that's changed are the additions by the Google Toolbar, much like adding annotations in the margine of a book. These additions in effect expand directly on the content provided. Neither Google, nor the user, are claiming any ownership of the original work in part or in total, thus your arguments of a "derivitive" work are null and void.  

The case you mention I believe is being argued more under the right of sale doctrine. The company involved purchases a copy of the original movie for every edited copy they sell. This has some creators upset that their "art" is being manhandled in this way, but I tend to believe the company is in the right (no matter how much I disagree with what they do in a general sense). They've made a legitimate purchase, they are simply reselling it after removing portions. So long as the purchaser is made aware that what they are buying isn't the original version, I say it comes down to consumer choice.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
Okay, stop it. (none / 0) (#120)
by DavidTC on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 07:52:19 PM EST

People who think we're granted some sort of 'implied' right to read copyright works really piss me off. You've fallen for the big lie.

We have as much right to read and view copyright works, and even modify, as we do to build a birdhouse or operate a refridgerator. I.e, every right in the world. It's not them 'overlooking' our usage, it's not some implied contractual item, it's our God given right to do everything that's not against the law.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Typical Leftist Agitation. (1.29 / 24) (#25)
by the ghost of rmg on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 11:16:29 PM EST

I don't know what it is about Kuro5hin that brings out the anti-corporate moonbats this way, but I've seen a dramatic decline in quality of content around here since the voice of common sense became more and more drowned out by sozialist hysteria like this. I suppose there's no opposing the iron fist of leftist fascism when they have their little moderating systems, as amply demonstrated on the Daily Kos and our own fair Kuro5hin.

But on to the main point. You're all a bunch of ingrates, biting the hand that feeds you. Beyond the obvious fact that you're all damned lucky to be living in a country where you even have internet access and the even more important fact that Microsoft allows you to use its web browsing software absolutely free, Google provides everyone who goes to their modest website with a world class web searching solution second only to MSN. Again absolutely free. No viral licensing agreement, no cryptic commandline interfaces, no head lice. Just the second best search out there. FOR FREE.

Oh, but it doesn't stop there! For those using a Leviticus-approved OS, a power user can, at HIS option, opt-in to the feature-packed Googlebar, allowing him to filter out disreputable websites (like this one, for instance), search with the click of a button, and, again at his option, include links to merchandise he might like to purchase in the text of his favorite websites.

Now what is the liberal internet elite's response to Google's generousity? "Let's sue their asses!" How predictably Statist. When the leftist doesn't like what's going on, he runs to the nanny state and the liberal justice system for help. Now I, for one, believe in freedom. If I had a problem with Google, I'd just start my own searching service to compete with them and force them to desist whatever it was I didn't like. But oh no, Statist violent coercion is the way of the Left.

But I'm not going to stand around pretending Google's perfect. As a OpenBSP shop, Google supports a shady garage operation that moved to Canada to avoid encryption laws that would prevent them from putting strong cryptography in the hands of terrorists (clearly, Canadians have other priorities). Rather than use an operations system based on the work of computer hackers at the People's Republic of Berkeley, I'd like to see them switch to a more modern and reliable platform.

Microsoft's .NET platform would allow Google to quickly expand their webservice offerings. Using ASP.NET with FrontPage Extensions, Google could significantly improve its homepage, adding relevant content like the news and weather. It would finally provide a good alternative to MSN. More importantly, the improvements in the backend that would quickly follow from the Rapid Development framework in the VisualStudio .NET would facilitate a faster and more flexible search. Microsoft's Aspect Oriented Programming Languages and Object Relational database solutions would give Google the technical edge it needs to compete in the modern Information Technology market.

But hey, I'm not complaining. If MSN ever goes down, I know where to go.

Oh, and one last thing: I tend to get a lot of liberal whiners bitching and moaning that I have the audacity to speak my mind. Well, you elitist losers better get used to it, because you lost in a big way. Yeah, that's right: You're the ones that are out of touch and I don't give a damn if you don't like it.


rmg: comments better than yours.

Neocultural libertarianism and the postculture (1.33 / 3) (#27)
by The Amazing Idiot on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 11:22:53 PM EST

1. Consensuses of rubicon

If one examines subcapitalist narrative, one is faced with a choice: either reject neocultural libertarianism or conclude that reality is used to marginalize the underprivileged, but only if Sontag's analysis of the patriarchial paradigm of discourse is valid; if that is not the case, we can assume that expression comes from the masses. The example of the postcultural paradigm of context depicted in Madonna's Sex is also evident in Material Girl. Therefore, an abundance of desublimations concerning not narrative as such, but prenarrative may be revealed.

The patriarchial paradigm of discourse implies that culture is capable of intent, given that narrativity is interchangeable with reality. But Long[1] suggests that we have to choose between neocultural libertarianism and Lyotardist narrative.

The subject is contextualised into a patriarchial paradigm of discourse that includes art as a whole. It could be said that the characteristic theme of la Tournier's[2] essay on the postcultural paradigm of context is the economy, and eventually the futility, of deconstructive society. Sartre suggests the use of neomodernist appropriation to deconstruct class. However, the subject is interpolated into a patriarchial paradigm of discourse that includes narrativity as a paradox.
2. Madonna and neocultural libertarianism

"Sexual identity is impossible," says Bataille; however, according to Dahmus[3] , it is not so much sexual identity that is impossible, but rather the defining characteristic of sexual identity. The main theme of the works of Madonna is not discourse, but prediscourse. It could be said that the subject is contextualised into a dialectic nihilism that includes consciousness as a totality.

Lyotard promotes the use of the postcultural paradigm of context to challenge class divisions. Thus, Derrida uses the term 'neocultural libertarianism' to denote the meaninglessness, and some would say the dialectic, of neotextual society.

If Marxist capitalism holds, we have to choose between neocultural libertarianism and dialectic Marxism. It could be said that several materialisms concerning the patriarchial paradigm of discourse exist.
3. Contexts of collapse

The primary theme of von Junz's[4] model of neocultural libertarianism is a mythopoetical whole. Lacan uses the term 'the postcultural paradigm of context' to denote the stasis, and eventually the collapse, of dialectic culture. But in Erotica, Madonna analyses neocultural libertarianism; in Material Girl she denies the postcultural paradigm of context.

Many discourses concerning the difference between society and consciousness may be found. In a sense, la Fournier[5] states that we have to choose between postcultural dialectic theory and subsemanticist deconceptualism.

Bataille uses the term 'the postcultural paradigm of context' to denote the role of the artist as reader. It could be said that the subject is interpolated into a patriarchial paradigm of discourse that includes narrativity as a reality. Sontag suggests the use of neocultural libertarianism to analyse and modify sexual identity. In a sense, if textual objectivism holds, we have to choose between the patriarchial paradigm of discourse and predialectic textual theory.
4. The postcultural paradigm of context and the subsemioticist paradigm of narrative

If one examines neocultural libertarianism, one is faced with a choice: either accept the postcultural paradigm of context or conclude that society, perhaps paradoxically, has significance. The subject is contextualised into a cultural precapitalist theory that includes sexuality as a paradox. But Drucker[6] implies that we have to choose between neocultural libertarianism and subcapitalist structuralist theory.

"Class is part of the stasis of truth," says Lacan. Any number of theories concerning the subsemioticist paradigm of narrative exist. Thus, the genre, and some would say the collapse, of the postcultural paradigm of context intrinsic to Rushdie's Satanic Verses emerges again in The Ground Beneath Her Feet, although in a more precultural sense.

"Sexual identity is intrinsically responsible for sexist perceptions of language," says Bataille; however, according to Dietrich[7] , it is not so much sexual identity that is intrinsically responsible for sexist perceptions of language, but rather the failure, and thus the dialectic, of sexual identity. The premise of the subsemioticist paradigm of narrative holds that the raison d'etre of the writer is deconstruction. In a sense, if the postcultural paradigm of context holds, we have to choose between the subsemioticist paradigm of narrative and neocapitalist semioticism.

Sartre uses the term 'neocultural libertarianism' to denote the defining characteristic of dialectic class. However, Foucault promotes the use of the postcultural paradigm of context to attack capitalism.

Lacan uses the term 'the predeconstructive paradigm of consensus' to denote the bridge between reality and sexual identity. It could be said that in Satanic Verses, Rushdie reiterates the postcultural paradigm of context; in The Ground Beneath Her Feet, however, he denies the subsemioticist paradigm of narrative.

Baudrillard uses the term 'neocultural libertarianism' to denote the role of the participant as artist. Therefore, the characteristic theme of the works of Rushdie is a mythopoetical reality.

D'Erlette[8] implies that we have to choose between the subsemioticist paradigm of narrative and postconstructive capitalist theory. In a sense, Lyotardist narrative states that society has intrinsic meaning.
5. Realities of rubicon

The primary theme of Dahmus's[9] analysis of neocultural libertarianism is the collapse, and hence the failure, of deconstructive narrativity. Debord suggests the use of the postcultural paradigm of context to read class. Therefore, the characteristic theme of the works of Tarantino is a self-supporting totality.

"Society is impossible," says Bataille; however, according to Brophy[10] , it is not so much society that is impossible, but rather the genre, and eventually the fatal flaw, of society. The masculine/feminine distinction depicted in Tarantino's Four Rooms is also evident in Pulp Fiction. However, the primary theme of Sargeant's[11] critique of the subsemioticist paradigm of narrative is the dialectic of dialectic sexual identity.

If subtextual cultural theory holds, the works of Madonna are empowering. Therefore, the subject is interpolated into a subsemioticist paradigm of narrative that includes art as a paradox.

Sartre promotes the use of neosemioticist theory to challenge hierarchy. It could be said that the characteristic theme of the works of Madonna is the common ground between reality and society.

In Erotica, Madonna reiterates neocultural libertarianism; in Material Girl she deconstructs the cultural paradigm of narrative. In a sense, Marx uses the term 'the subsemioticist paradigm of narrative' to denote not discourse, as Derrida would have it, but prediscourse.

[ Parent ]

The two comments above... (2.00 / 3) (#32)
by rusty on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 12:39:35 AM EST

...might as well say the same thing, for all that anyone's going to bother to read either one of them. :-)

rmg, you really need to pare it down to the essentials in a top-level troll. When you get biters, then you can start to expand and get verbose. But here, you're still jerking the hook way too hard before anyone's even nibbled.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Erm rusty... (none / 1) (#34)
by The Amazing Idiot on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 12:44:43 AM EST

So I shouldnt use the Postmodernism Generator to make posts?

Aww sucks!

[ Parent ]

Nah (3.00 / 2) (#40)
by pwhysall on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 01:34:01 AM EST

You should get hold of whatever it is CTS uses to generate his.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Could be tricky (none / 1) (#56)
by c4miles on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 09:21:35 AM EST

I believe those substances are strictly controlled in most jurisdictions.
--
For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.
[ Parent ]
you don't know what you're talking about. (none / 0) (#36)
by the ghost of rmg on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 12:58:37 AM EST

wait until morning.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]
This is UNIX! I know this! (2.33 / 3) (#44)
by it certainly is on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 03:09:46 AM EST

The code is in the bold words, right? Like "The stinking bail of local figure Perry Mason has uncovered a shocking range of terrible beliefs."

Let's see:

anti-corporate moonbats, sozialist hysteria, leftist

fascism have absolutely free absolutely free

FOR FREE at HIS option. Now what is the liberal internet elite's response to Google's generousity?

Statist violent coercion is the way of the Left shady garage operation

that moved to Canada to avoid encryption laws that would prevent them from putting strong cryptography in the hands of terrorists

People's Republic of Berkeley: faster, more flexible, oh, and one last thing

I am impressed.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Even for a troll... (none / 0) (#47)
by trezor on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 06:19:14 AM EST

Even for notorious troll, this is way overkill. It probably took some time writing, but it still ain't funny and it's too extreme to be credible.

And regarding that "you lost in a big way"... Kerry 251, Bush 286. 47% vs 53%. That's not really losing "in a big way" is it? Oh, sorry, I forgot, this is troll-math.


--
Richard Dean Anderson porn? - Now spread the news

[ Parent ]
On the contrary (none / 1) (#51)
by bml on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 06:53:09 AM EST

I'd say that losing against Bush by any margin, or even winning by a small margin, is actually "losing in a big way",

The Internet is vast, and contains many people. This is the way of things. -- Russell Dovey
[ Parent ]
Bush's Mandate. (none / 1) (#59)
by the ghost of rmg on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 09:40:14 AM EST

A six point margin is huge. It's the same margin FDR won in 1942. I suggest you read up on history and learn something about politics.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]
heh (none / 0) (#124)
by Battle Troll on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 11:52:28 PM EST

You filthy troll! I'll show you... by biting!

YFI
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Excuse me sir (none / 0) (#50)
by bml on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 06:51:18 AM EST

Are you, by any chance, what people here call "a troll"?

The Internet is vast, and contains many people. This is the way of things. -- Russell Dovey
[ Parent ]
I don't know what liberals call me, (3.00 / 2) (#58)
by the ghost of rmg on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 09:38:38 AM EST

But I call myself a patriot.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]
patriot (none / 0) (#88)
by StangDriver on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:28:30 PM EST

By patriot, do you mean:

"Screw the issues and trying to figure out for myself whats right or wrong. I was born on this team and I support the mindless killing of all that aren't on this team"

[ Parent ]

Another elitist Leftist. (none / 1) (#89)
by the ghost of rmg on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:31:03 PM EST

I suppose you think if I just read the paper I'd think the same way as you, is that it? I'm just too dumb to know that socialism is the ultimate good?

That's why you losers are always losing.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

Not elitist... (none / 0) (#155)
by StangDriver on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 03:14:43 PM EST

I just have a problem with how patriotism is determined by one's views on the operations of his government. In a society as large as ours, it is unavoidable to have people with alternate viewpoints. This is why democracy is such a successful system. But taking the label of "patriot" because you agree with what the government is doing at this point in time is undermining democracy, as well as the idea that each man can think for himself.

This is why the right are being perceived as "cant-thinkers" and the left are being perceived as elitist. Its because the right are self-proclaimed patriots, which comes off as blindly following your government. Instead of bragging about your patriotism, maybe you should say, "I've thought about these issues and my core belief system is in-line with what the government is doing at this time".

[ Parent ]

Excellent (none / 0) (#126)
by C Montgomery Burns on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 01:41:25 AM EST

it's amazing how many bites this continues to get.

--
ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD
Intelligent design
[ Parent ]
Bravo! (none / 0) (#66)
by LilDebbie on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 10:37:51 AM EST

*golf clap*

Someone's in rare form.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
You're too far to the right. (none / 0) (#87)
by StangDriver on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:24:25 PM EST

I dont know how this got turned into a left vs right issue, but leave it to a conservative to do that. And of course you could never forget to slip in the terrorist buzz word with bold and italics.

[ Parent ]
Not Up To Your Usual Standard(tm) [nt] (none / 0) (#127)
by esrever on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 03:48:13 AM EST



Audit NTFS permissions on Windows
[ Parent ]
"a major player in the weblog world" (2.33 / 3) (#30)
by forgotten on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 12:01:50 AM EST

gee.

--

The AP Style guide (3.00 / 4) (#33)
by rusty on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 12:41:32 AM EST

lists "major player" as an acceptable alternative for "universally loathed jackass."

I looked it up.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Blogs blogs blogucks (none / 0) (#48)
by trezor on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 06:22:06 AM EST

Despite the fact that the author mentioned blogs way to much, I voted +1 for this story. But I must admit, I rarely do stuff like that.

Isn't "blog" just another word for "usenet on the web" anyway? And we all know the insight that usenet can spawn, don't we? *sigh*


--
Richard Dean Anderson porn? - Now spread the news

[ Parent ]
The only thing that bothers me at all about it (2.50 / 4) (#35)
by cburke on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 12:48:40 AM EST

is the Amazon affiliation.  I have no problem at all with a toolbar that places links in web pages on command, and I don't give a shit if the web page owner doesn't want me to.  But I can't say I'm keen on having those links be based on who payed Google the most money.  Can I change which website gets linked to ISBN numbers, or has that decision been made for me by Google executives?

If they're going to have sponsored links, I'd rather see the sponsored links separated from the content, like they do with normal Google searches (this being a big thing I like about Google search).  

Otherwise I don't care so long as I, the user, have control over what the toolbar links to.  Like the Google+Firefox link.  It makes no difference so long as I can change my homepage and which engine the search bar uses.

re: Amazon (none / 0) (#39)
by ubernostrum on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 01:29:44 AM EST

Google wasn't paid to point those links to Amazon.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
Separation of Information and Marketing? (none / 0) (#61)
by jclindsay on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 09:56:50 AM EST

If they're not receiving money from using Amazon, why not then go with a purely informational service, ala isbndb.com? The GP is right - it seems patently "un-Google" of them to include a link to a retail site intermixed with informational results.

Granted, isbndb might not be as complete as Amazon. I might also entertain an argument that the most relevant content for a book is not just author/title/publisher data but book reviews and samples of the content. But this, to me, still equates to a tacit sponsorship of Amazon - paid or not.

Hypothetically, if Google added AutoLinks for movie titles, would you want them to take you to imdb or to Blockbuster?

[ Parent ]

The stated reason (none / 0) (#90)
by ubernostrum on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:33:48 PM EST

for using Amazon is simply that Amazon has the most complete book database available anywhere.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
pedantry (none / 0) (#101)
by nutate on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 12:51:07 AM EST

Actually OCLC or Books in Print probably have bigger databases. Actually OCLC has the biggest as far as I know. It's just not free completely, but google has met with them as well.

[ Parent ]
The best placeto link ISBN numbers... (none / 1) (#119)
by DavidTC on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 07:42:00 PM EST

...is here

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]
preservation of meaning (2.60 / 5) (#41)
by nml on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 01:49:27 AM EST

I think the key point in all of this is not content preservation, but preservation of meaninig. There's pretty good precedent for content editing that preserves meaning as being ok in things like journalism and usenet. So long as attribution is correct (not an issue here) and meaning is preserved, then its ok to modify content. However, people - rightfully - get upset when they are misquoted or quoted out of context because readers can construe meaning that they never intended, and attribute it to them.

The question is then whether autolink preserves meaning, and as far as i can see there's a case to be made that it doesn't. Analagously to google's sponsored link's vs. pay-for-placement where you can't tell what is paid for, there should be no ambiguity about what content comes from where, because it can interfere with the meaning of the message. If google clearly delineate which content comes from autolink and which content comes from the original author, then this feature would be ok.



As already mentioned.. (none / 1) (#77)
by Kwil on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 02:47:17 PM EST

..all the content on the site comes from the author until you hit the Autolink button.

Pretty easy to tell.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
and once you turn it on... (none / 0) (#108)
by nml on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 06:51:21 AM EST

then what? The whole point of the argument is about what happens when you turn it on ;o)

[ Parent ]
My understanding is.. (none / 0) (#112)
by Kwil on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 01:55:07 PM EST

..that you have to hit it for each new page you go to.

I could be wrong in this though.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
Yup. (none / 1) (#114)
by ubernostrum on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 02:28:21 PM EST

You have to press it for each and every page, and when you first use it it pops up a big box explaining what it does and pointing out that the links you'll get are added by Google, not by the author of the page.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
... it just sits there (none / 0) (#156)
by Mousky on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 08:23:38 PM EST

It just sits there, waiting for you, the user, to click on the AutoLink button. This is a passive feature that requires user intervention.

[ Parent ]
Jeffrey Zeldman (2.50 / 2) (#46)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:09:37 AM EST

You make it sound as if he was very against it. I don't see any evidence of that. He suggests it's bad idea. But that is different to saying it is, and totally different to calling it evil like others have.

Zeldman isn't usually one to mouth-off about anything. I think his main peeve is that ISBN numbers turn into links that go Amazon.com; a commercial web-site.
And I have to say, this is the one and only problem that I do see with it. But since it's a very op-in feature, I don't see it as a big deal at the moment.

I'm not so sure (none / 0) (#52)
by ubernostrum on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 07:03:30 AM EST

"Protect your site" from the toolber? Seems to be a clear statement of how he feels.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
New paradigm? (2.25 / 4) (#54)
by gidds on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 07:55:41 AM EST

While I tend to agree with the article's point that AutoLinks aren't inherently evil, I do think they represent a fundamental change to the way the web has worked so far.

Previously, if you saw a link in a page, it was a fairly safe bet that the link was put in by the author. Whereas with AutoLinks, if I understand correctly, that assumption no longer holds.

Maybe that's the real issue here: that of authorship and attribution. If I write a page, and some user-side software inserts inappropriate links, what if naive users blame me for those links?

Perhaps the solution is to make author-created links appear obviously different from software-added ones. Maybe the latter should be in a different colour, or be linked from a separate icon or something? That way, there's no possible confusion, and attribution is clear.

Of course, this is just the latest round of the old content-vs-format argument. The web should be a source of information, with the browser working out the best way to present it; instead, too many web authors want it to be like a book, having total control over presentation as well as content. Which may work reasonably well if everyone has exactly the same display resolution and characteristics, window size, browser, OS, language, sight... but in the Real World(tm), the web can be so much more than that, and control is slowly returning to the hands of users, where it belongs.

Andy/

Slight misunderstanding over AutoLinks (none / 1) (#69)
by simon farnz on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 10:50:24 AM EST

AutoLinks are only added when the user requests it; thus, you know that until you've hit the button, all links were put in by the author. Afterwards, some links came from Google.
--
If guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns
[ Parent ]
but... (none / 0) (#78)
by greggman on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 02:56:08 PM EST

but once you've clicked that button you no long know which links are from the author and which aren't.  If that button was actually useful I can imagine most people including myself would click it first and not be aware the links they were following were not from the author.

[ Parent ]
The other argument (none / 0) (#93)
by ubernostrum on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:46:58 PM EST

Which I didn't really touch on here, is that if you're running around with unlinked package tracking numbers or such on your site, you've probably pissed your user off by doing so; they're going to know which links are Google's because they're going to remember "Oh yeah, that #@&^#% couldn't be bothered to link this, so I had to use AutoLink to do it."

People notice when a site is unusable.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
So What? (3.00 / 2) (#146)
by Mousky on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 01:08:36 AM EST

The catch is that before you can even click on the AutoLink button, the user has to enable it under Options. Additionally, when links are created, a drop-down menu with newly created links appears beside the AutoLink button.

[ Parent ]
Attribution (none / 0) (#72)
by John Miles on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 01:28:13 PM EST

Maybe that's the real issue here: that of authorship and attribution.

Google has adequately demonstrated, by altering content in Usenet message headers and text from the Deja archives, that they don't care about either of those things.

There's a lot of naivete surrounding this particular company's actions and motivations. "Don't be evil" isn't much of a constraint in the real world, especially when you end up owning the dictionary that people use to look up "evil."

For so long as men do as they are told, there will be war.
[ Parent ]

Re: new paradigm (none / 0) (#86)
by StangDriver on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:16:22 PM EST

========
Maybe that's the real issue here: that of authorship and attribution. If I write a page, and some user-side software inserts inappropriate links, what if naive users blame me for those links?
=========

Or maybe they will call Microsoft and blame them since they are running windows. Or better yet, they might call gateway and blame them for the inappropriate links.

If the argument is focused on users who cannot draw the line between the different components of a computer, especially one that he has manually downloaded, installed, and enabled, then there is no argument.

[ Parent ]

New Paradigm (none / 0) (#139)
by colletdf on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 10:58:49 PM EST

And who says the link is not put in by the 'author'. Only, in this case, the 'author' is actually google who are simply dressing up (?) someone else's work and adding some helpfull (?) links while they are at it.
All said and done, I agree with an earlier comment that says 'if you want to make money from my work make sure I get a piece of the action'. But which work are we talking about here? The original piece from which the link links? Or the additional information being linked?
Seems like a good idea that is open to abuse only because most users will not take the time to think through the potential abuses of this service. And how is that any different than what happens in most of the media today?
People who think this through will probably ignore most of the links anyway.

[ Parent ]
Keep spinning it... (1.14 / 7) (#55)
by popu037 on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 08:55:03 AM EST

I don't care what anyone says. It was a shitty idea when Microsoft tried it and it's still a shitty idea now that Google is trying it. I can't wait until one of my clients calls me and says "why are there all these new links on my site!!" so that I can spend the next two weeks adding retarded google opt-out tags to thousands of web pages. The bottom line is that no one should be adding/modifying someone else's content without their permission.

Do some research first, please... (3.00 / 3) (#67)
by petiepooo on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 10:48:26 AM EST

Dude, understand what it is first. Smart-Tags involuntarily modified and inserted tags into all HTML pages. AutoLink only adds tags when the user requests it. Your clients won't be seeing those new links unless they're clicking the Autolink button because they want to see them.

Let me give you a personal example. I have installed a Firefox extension called URL Link that adds a context-sensitive menu item when I highlight a URL and right-click on it. When I select it, it opens the URL in another tab. I use it at least daily. I'd like to have a similar one for when I highlight a street address and right-click it. Or a UPS tracking number.

Once the HTML content leaves your web server, you have little control on how I choose to render it. If I want to have Privoxy strip out all of your ads, and I have the technical ability to do it, you have no recourse. Nor should you.

For that matter, Privoxy could automatically create links out of URLs, IBSNs or tracking numbers it finds. Autolink is better, I believe, because at least those links aren't there whenever the page is brought up.

For every method used to de-googlefy a web page, don't be surprised to see a Privoxy script to reenable it. Preventing people from searching your content under their terms is "Not Nice!" (TM) Learn to treat your site consumers with respect if you want respect in return.

[ Parent ]
you reply should be... (3.00 / 2) (#70)
by ceejayoz on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 11:24:49 AM EST

I can't wait until one of my clients calls me and says "why are there all these new links on my site!!" to which you should reply "stop clicking the AutoLink button in the Google toolbar!"

[ Parent ]
Imagine if (3.00 / 12) (#57)
by jbond23 on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 09:23:26 AM EST

Let's imagine for a moment that some enterprising hacker produced a Firefox extension that added a right click menu choice. When you right clicked on an address it launched Google Maps. When you right clicked on an ISBN it launched Amazon. We'd all clap her on the back and tell our friends. Now imagine that V0.9 of this extension automatically changed addresses and ISBNs into links if you enabled it. We'd cheer and suggest they added del.icio.us, flickr and wikipedia. Finally imagine this hacker managed to license this same functionality to Google, got a job there and bought a Porsche with the share options. Now we all jeer and call her evil. I found it very amusing that one of the first and mofre vocal critics has an Attribution 1.0 CC license on their weblog. So feel free to make a commercial derivative copy with attribution. Just as long as your name isn't Google. But mostly this looks to me like a storm in a teacup between the geeks who make money from writing code and the commentators who make money from writing words. The geeks see nothing wrong here. As far as they (and I) are concerned, once you put html on a webserver, all bets are off. We rejoice in grabbing the text and images and doing whatever we damn well please with it. We'll switch off the ads, take all the images and turn them into a collage, turn all proper nouns into links to Wikipedia. And what we do with it should be our business and our business only just as long as we don't republish the results for money without being transparent about what we're doing. If we want to scrape Google News into an RSS feed for our own consumption, why the hell not. And we'll look at the commentators and say if you are really worried about your text being misappropriated then don't use html, use PDF with all the options tightened down. Because that's the only way you can be reasonably sure your precious text won't be touched. So finally what really puzzles me, is that a lot of the noisiest critics on this issue are supposedly alpha geeks and not just alpha commentators. What's up guys? Don't you get it yet aftre all these years? Or are you all just exposing the fact that you're wearing no clothes? ps. Where's my official Google and Alexa toolbar for Firefox and Safari? I want my trust to be abused too even though I refuse to use IE6. Oh well, guess we'll just have to do it ourselves.

ok... (none / 0) (#111)
by The Amazing Idiot on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 01:51:39 PM EST

Aside the fact that this post reads like a horses ass, lets dive in to what you say, shall we?

---Let's imagine for a moment that some enterprising hacker produced a Firefox extension that added a right click menu choice. When you right clicked on an address it launched Google Maps. When you right clicked on an ISBN it launched Amazon. We'd all clap her on the back and tell our friends. Now imagine that V0.9 of this extension automatically changed addresses and ISBNs into links <b>if you enabled it</b>. We'd cheer and suggest they added del.icio.us, flickr and wikipedia. Finally imagine this hacker managed to license this same functionality to Google, got a job there and bought a Porsche with the share options. Now we all jeer and call her evil.

Notice what happens when it's an individual: they dont care about the direct control of the client. They make it for the fun of it, and they give it freely.

Turning on and off is trivial, as you can just delete the offending extension. The key here is who has teh locus of control of functionality?

Whats the difference between the 2: Extension made  with a few settings from a GUI but a text file within root of extension that lists every setting, including debug and full lists of websites to link <b><i>OR</i></b> a program that's free, has a good amount of settings (including "advanced" ones), but you download a update to get increased functionality. This update file is an encrypted, signed list of the websites/content to change, things to do 'different' and other hidden things.

They're both free? Which one's better?

---As far as they (and I) are concerned, once you put html on a webserver, all bets are off.

Ever heard of Copyright? Thats my point. Its your 'right' to read what you wish when it concerns to public copyrighted content, as you receive a limited implied consent. If there wasnt implied consent, everybody would sue everybody else for reading of their copyrighted work.

---We rejoice in grabbing the text and images and doing whatever we damn well please with it. We'll switch off the ads, take all the images and turn them into a collage, turn all proper nouns into links to Wikipedia. And what we do with it should be our business and our business only just as long as we don't republish the results for money without being transparent about what we're doing.

Thats the difference Im making. YOU either get a open program, which you see what does what or you do it yourself. Since AutoLink's not out yet, we dont know if the archive it uses is encrypted with "Google's Authorized Content".

Thats where Im getting copyright infringement by distribution of modified works. If Google's program acts on behalf of Google (and no way to view/change those lists), then distribution of that "Web Code" to you, the end user, would be illegal.

---If we want to scrape Google News into an RSS feed for our own consumption, why the hell not. And we'll look at the commentators and say if you are really worried about your text being misappropriated then don't use html, use PDF with all the options tightened down.

Any bits are scrapable. And itf they're locked down, just "print to file" and scrape the file with OCR. This isnt a tech issue, as all tech can be undone. This is a law issue.

---Because that's the only way you can be reasonably sure your precious text won't be touched. So finally what really puzzles me, is that a lot of the noisiest critics on this issue are supposedly alpha geeks and not just alpha commentators. What's up guys? Don't you get it yet aftre all these years? Or are you all just exposing the fact that you're wearing no clothes?

Ok, go try dealing with the law. What? You like making P2P apps? You like reverse engineering windows print drivers so the piles of plastic crap can work with GhostScript? You found a nasty hack in some properitary program?

Point is the Internet does NOT shield you against inane laws or legal harassment. And if anything, I get the issue perfectly. I also have a knack of reading lots of law docs and trying to understand how lawyers think. They're actually quite like us computer hackers.

If there's a hole to subvert, there's a program willing (judge) to accept that hole and get "root". Just go ask 9th circus^Ht.

 ps. Where's my official Google and Alexa toolbar for Firefox and Safari? I want my trust to be abused too even though I refuse to use IE6. Oh well, guess we'll just have to do it ourselves.


[ Parent ]

I can't believe this made it though the edit queue (none / 0) (#64)
by p3d0 on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 10:18:55 AM EST

(Heaven forbid we have one article where nobody says they can't believe this made it through the edit queue.)
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
delicious irony (none / 0) (#74)
by trav on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 02:06:41 PM EST

Dave Winer (a major player in the weblog world...) That was most interesting thing I got out of this article, sorry.

Opt-In for Content Providers? Are you NUTS? (2.66 / 6) (#75)
by knight37 on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 02:32:27 PM EST

On the subject of content-producer opt-in:

No. Sorry. But content producters DO NOT get to control how I view their content. This has been the way the web has worked since it began. The CLIENT is responsible for the presentation of the content. If I want to reformat it, add to it, do anything I want to it, I can do that. The thing is, you can not stop this! The server has no way of knowing what the client has done to the content after it has been sent.

There are already DOZENS of browser plug-ins and tools that alter or enhance web-page content in some form or fashion. If you suggest that content providers have some say in whether or not this happens, all of a sudden all of those devices have to support "opt-in" too.

Don't like those pop-up ads? Too fucking bad, we haven't "opted in" to allow you to block them.

If you try to make some stupid law and/or standard that supports opt-in for content producers, that just means there will be "underground" browsers that do not support this feature. In other words, no one will be using Internet Explorer anymore, they'll be using 1nt3rn37 Xpl0r3r, because it has all the features of IE, without the limitation of forcing me to be at the mercy of the content provider. There is no way to avoid this! The server has SENT the data, it is now COMPLETELY in the hands of the client, and there is no way for the server to prevent the client from altering its presentation.

You want to talk about slippery slope. The slippery slope is there, but it's going the opposite way you think it is. You start suggesting that content-providers actually have some say in what is being displayed on the client end, and all of a sudden you've made just about every internet tool currently in existence illegal.

Now back to the main thrust -- autolinking:

I think it's a great tool if used responsibly. As long as the user of the software is PERFECTLY AWARE of where that link is being generated, and not able to confuse a link generated by the content provider and by the tool that is doing autolinking, I don't have a problem with it. As Cory Doctorow wrote on BoingBoing, the problem ONLY occurs if there is some deception involved, and that's a problem with whoever wrote the tool doing the decieving, not the actual technology of autolinking in and of itself.

As a user I would only be interested in this product, however, if it:

1. let me customize where the autolinks go to, for example, if it's autolinking a book, I want the option to have it search Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com as I see fit, not be forced into a choice by the maker of the tool just because they get "kick-backs".
2. no one gets a kick-back unless the author of the web page that I was reading gets one.
3. no one gets a kick-back if I don't want them to get a kick-back. It's my money, I get to decide who gets it.
4. I am always fully aware of where the link is being generated.
5. It's completely optional and "turn-on per use" type thing, it isn't something enabled all the time while browsing.

Those are my conditions before *I* would use it, YMMV. BTW, I am using Firefox so I can't use the Google thning even if it does work the way I want it to. I would be very interested in a FireFox plug-in that did something similar though.


--Knight37

Once a Gamer, always a Gamer
3. no one gets a kick-back if I don't want them to (none / 0) (#83)
by pacanukeha on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:02:49 PM EST

If you don't click on the auto link they don't get a kick-back. If you do, they do. I can't see it working any other way. After all, there is nothing sopping you from searching for the ISBN in your own window/tab

[ Parent ]
Excellent post, but.... (none / 1) (#85)
by StangDriver on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:02:14 PM EST

You lost me at "3. no one gets a kick-back if I don't want them to get a kick-back. It's my money, I get to decide who gets it." Where in life do you get to choose how the profits of your dollar are divided? You make a fair -n- square trade with the merchant, and its up to him and his business partners to divide the money up. Also, "2. no one gets a kick-back unless the author of the web page that I was reading gets one. " Again, you're just a user. Its a little bit...none of your business... really. If the tool is useful, and has features you find useful, use the tool. Worrying about people's books is where you are getting out of the realm of reality. Especially since the content provider doesn't give a CRAP about you. If you get wrongfully fired from your job at microsoft, they will still run thier site on windows.

[ Parent ]
Fair (none / 0) (#100)
by knight37 on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 12:05:38 AM EST

Right now if I see a link on a web site that I don't like but it reminds me of something I want, I can go to the url without entering in the referal numbers and they won't get a kick-back. I would like that same functionality with the tool.


--Knight37

Once a Gamer, always a Gamer
[ Parent ]
What Kickback (none / 1) (#145)
by Mousky on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 01:02:01 AM EST

There is no kickback with AutoLink. If there truly was a kickback, do you think that Google would list Yahoo Maps or Mapquest as options given that it just introduced Google Maps Beta? If Barnes & Noble, or any web service or company wants to be listed, they should contact Google (or a competing toolbar).

[ Parent ]
Update (none / 0) (#164)
by Mousky on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 10:21:56 AM EST

Google added a whole bunch of services and companies to the ISBN component of AutoLink. Any of the naysayer/doomsayer bloggers reporting this? Didn't think so. Hypocrites.

[ Parent ]
Me too. (none / 1) (#118)
by DavidTC on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 07:22:11 PM EST

I don't like this 'amazon' linkage and thus won't use the toolbar. (As I'm in firefox, I couldn't use it anyway.) I don't like to buy from amazon under anyway, and most of the time if I see an ISBN number I want to know more about the book, not run off and buy it.

But that's just me personally. I don't see anything morally or legally wrong with it.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

AutoLink disabled by default (none / 0) (#144)
by Mousky on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 12:59:23 AM EST

You do realize that you can still use the toolbar with AutoLink disabled (which it is by default)?

[ Parent ]
No I can't. (none / 0) (#148)
by DavidTC on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 02:42:15 PM EST

Because, duh, I'm in Firefox.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]
Fair Use... (none / 0) (#159)
by JohnLamar on Wed Mar 09, 2005 at 09:42:50 PM EST

No. Sorry. But content producters DO NOT get to control how I view their content. This has been the way the web has worked since it began. The CLIENT is responsible for the presentation of the content. If I want to reformat it, add to it, do anything I want to it, I can do that. The thing is, you can not stop this! The server has no way of knowing what the client has done to the content after it has been sent. I believe it is the Constitution that protects how you view that content. Even the DMCA can't stop you from enjoying content the way you like (although if you want to remove it from a DVD you are legally screwed - but that is the bribe the proves the law - so to speak). It's Fair Use!!!! But all in all.... you are right. It's a little like someone forcing me to use Internet Explorer for no reason other than design issues. But you are right... no one is changing the content.
The worst thing you've ever seen
[ Parent ]
You missing the point entirely (2.00 / 5) (#76)
by greggman on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 02:45:39 PM EST

It's not about users editing the content.  It's not about business models.  It's not about sacred content.  It's about one company (one person) having a chance to edit every webpage for millions of people.

Right now if you search for Bush you'll get lots of sites pro and con.  Pro sites will have pro links, con sites will have con links.  When version 1.1 of Autolinks appears that does more than the 4 types of data it does now then google will now have a chance to make all those links point one way or the other, pro or con.  That power will be concentrated in one company.  That is the scary part.  You think it's scary that people get most of their news from 4-5 TV news sources?  Just wait till the day when all online news sources pass through the editing hand of google and google alone.

it's gets worse.  Assume google doesn't actually directly control the content but uses pagerank to decide where links to a certain topic go.  Then, who ever figures out how to hack pagerank (which many people have already done) will have a HUGE influence in shaping public opinion.

Face it, techinically it's great idea.  Instead of manually searching for stuff with my personal phrase of preference (bush president, bush oil, bush iraq) each person deciding for themselves how to search, the convienence of Autolink 1.1 will be "just click that button and I'll get links selected by google as the best links for more info" and everyone else will get the exact same links.

That's NOT good if you want diverse opinions.

yeah but (none / 1) (#80)
by midas2000 on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 03:09:36 PM EST

I mean, I see what you're saying, and I think that's a good point. But it still seems to me that we can't really conclude from that that Google shouldn't be allowed to do this, or that it shouldn't do this.

I mean, in the end, isn't it down to the fact that the user is choosing to use this software of his own free will? I guess the argument could be made for a small amount of shoving it down the throat of the non-savvy user, but I don't think it's particularly bad in this case. The user isn't having that single opinion imposed on him, he's choosing it.

I guess what I'm saying is that I feel like we can sit and say "shame-shame, google" and maybe tell people not to use it, but I don't think google has a moral responsibility to not offer this service to people who want it. If a person doesn't want diversified opinions, we can't really force them on him, in good conscience, even if they would probably benefit from them.

I dunno, I'm just talking.

-midas

[ Parent ]

Utility (none / 0) (#81)
by NoBeardPete on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 03:49:21 PM EST

Google is practically a utility. I'm about as concerned about their monopoly over searching as I am about the local electric utility's monopoly. Yeah, I need power to do stuff, and yeah, being able to search the internet is terribly useful. But there's no way for them to _effectively_ leverage their importance, and if they tried to use any of the ineffective ways, there'd be hell to catch.


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!
[ Parent ]

No, YOU are missing the point (none / 1) (#82)
by pacanukeha on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 03:59:45 PM EST

A button that I have to click, on a piece of software that I had to install myself, on a browser that I chose to use can modify the web page however it wants. The content is in my browser first and the click is second. The phrase you want is "millions of _consenting_ people."

[ Parent ]
No thats not scary... (3.00 / 2) (#84)
by StangDriver on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:44:12 PM EST

Whats scary is content providers who disrespect the intellegence of thier readers by telling them how to think.

The example you used was that a pro Bush site could potentially have links to an anti Bush site. God forbid your readers are actually exposed to the other side of the arguement. Its as if they cant make up thier minds for themselves, so they need the help of the content provider to protect them from too many choices.

Until Google proves otherwise, I believe they have no goals beyond data retrieval. You have to give them the benefit of the doubt, since they've done such an amazing job thus far.

[ Parent ]

I think you made my point for me. (none / 1) (#92)
by ubernostrum on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:42:09 PM EST

So you're terrified of Google. That's fine, just be a man and admit that's your reason.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
Yes this is scary. (none / 0) (#125)
by Effigykill on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 12:05:52 AM EST

Yes they are using it out of their own free will the point is that they are being lied to about what it actually does. If i gave you something that purports to download the web faster and cheaper, such as broadband, without telling you that it is free cable internet entirely sponsored by ads, then that is wrong. If all links flow through Google, which is quickly becoming overly corporate and evil, then all links from pro Bush sites will be pro Bush, and all links from anti Bush sites will be pro Bush, all because Google decides it likes Bush. These are programs designed for people that don't like to think what short cuts and what liberties their computer programs are taking for them. Some people like living and surfing in an AOL walled garden. And a search in Google for vitamins or Rogaine will already get you ads, sponsored links, claiming to be first results. Some people really do type 'shoes' into Google and by the first pair. People are saying that it's a slippery slope to embedded ads and directed links to chosen companies. It sounds like they already do. As far as I've read, no one seems upset about ISBN links going directly to Amazon instead of isbn.nu. This tool bar is bad for two reasons. It sets a president for controlling where people go, and it makes people reliant on quick link tools that keep them from finding things and writing things on their own.

[ Parent ]
Rant here, rant there, rant everywhere (3.00 / 2) (#143)
by Mousky on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 12:56:56 AM EST

1. How are people being lied to about with AutoLink? It has to be manually enabled by the user before it can even be used. Once enabled, the user has to click on the AutoLink button to create links for four types of infomation, if the information is in the correct format. 2. It is up to consumers to research a product or service. You did say that your service downloads faster and is cheaper. Perhaps I should have asked how much? If you said free, perhaps I should have asked how is that possible? 3. All links do not flow through Goolge. The only Google based link in AutoLink is for Google Maps. All other links are to other companies. 4. The toolbar sets no precedent. It does not control where people go. By installing the toolbar by enabling AutoLink, by clicking on the AutoLink button and, finally, by clicking on the link (on the web page or in the drop down menu) created by AutoLink, people have explicitly chosen to go those sites. If they don't know better, too bad. Not my problem. 5. Well we better eliminate bookmarks and favorites from browsers. We don't want people to use technology to be more efficient in finding things, now do we?

[ Parent ]
more ranting (none / 0) (#151)
by Effigykill on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:32:03 PM EST

Exactly my point, these are blind bookmarks. You click a link, and by doing so say, "I want to know more about this ISBN" or "I want to know where this address is" and instead of getting an auto generated map, you are sent to a third party website like map quest, instead of getting title publisher author you get sent to Amazon.com where you are pressured to buy anything from the book, to a corresponding DVD or CD, or some even some clothes. This is about setting a priority of easy access to information over dispassionate neutral surfing. Personally I dislike advertising, and if we allow services like this, it's only a matter of time until someone assumes the right to link any instance of the word Viagra to their website, under the guise of "additional information".

[ Parent ]
Huh? (none / 0) (#152)
by Mousky on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 10:42:44 PM EST

How do expect to get an "auto generated map" without being sent to a third party website?

If you want AutoLink to have more options such as linking to an ISBN database, let Google know. They don't operate in a vacuum.

How are you "pressured to buy anything" at Amazon.com?

[ Parent ]

Explanation (none / 0) (#158)
by Effigykill on Wed Mar 09, 2005 at 11:22:18 AM EST

I'm sorry, have you never been to Amazon.com? Collecting data to orchestrate the best possible items to pitch to a perspective customer is sales pressure. I should know, I've worked in sales. As for the maps, why not have Google generate their own maps, or better yet allow people to use whichever map program they wish to. Such as by allowing them to copy and past the address into the program. Just like I do right now with ms streets and trips. Right away I get more hits than just American ones. The main problem I see isn't really with this particular toolbar, it's with the idea that toolbars are needed, or what toolbars will be doing later.

[ Parent ]
Nah (none / 0) (#157)
by Western Infidels on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 08:58:56 PM EST

Just wait till the day when all online news sources pass through the editing hand of google and google alone.

Google achieved prominence through old-fashioned capitalistic virtue - their user's search experience is simply the best. The search results are the most relevant, the ads are clearly marked as such, etc.

No one poisons the goose that lays the golden eggs, and that's what it would be for Google to pollute their search results the way you suggest. There are about a zillion lesser search engines poised take Google's place. I think Google would have little to gain - and everything to risk - by doing such a thing.

[ Parent ]

If you love the Internet, you better be worried. (1.33 / 3) (#96)
by Marknot on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 09:27:46 PM EST

It isn't what the toolbar does to the webpage, it is what it does to the web. This is the beginning of a  slippery slope which will eventually pave the way for Microsoft to embed SmartTags into MSIE.

Fast forward and we will have embedded ads competing with online ads and many of your favorite sites will end up having to close down because they will not be able to pay for their hosting services.  

The mom and pops and web publishers will be the first to suffer.

For those who do not know, Microsoft tried to do this back in 2001 and and they will have the green light to try again.

AutoLinks is step one in a plan to funnel billions of dollars to the major portals.  In the end, they will be perfectly wedged in between the major retailers and the consumers.  This is a very subtle power grab.


I remember you. (none / 1) (#103)
by ubernostrum on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 01:26:49 AM EST

I voted down your story on this, because you made pretty much the same sort of wild accusations without backing them up in any way.

Got a source yet?




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
And while I'm at it... (3.00 / 3) (#104)
by ubernostrum on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 01:41:07 AM EST

It isn't what the toolbar does to the webpage, it is what it does to the web. This is the beginning of a slippery slope which will eventually pave the way for Microsoft to embed SmartTags into MSIE.

Smart Tags are already built into Microsoft Office; more likely, that was the first step on the slippery slope, and we don't seem to have slid down yet. Also, the slippery slope is an informal fallacy.

Fast forward and we will have embedded ads competing with online ads

I doubt it. Notice that Google's AutoLink dosn't embed ads in a page; in fact, one of the other features of the Google Toolbar is software which blocks ads. Why? Because users hate them. Users also hate anything that makes them look at more ads, which is why ad-embedding toolbars never took off (people other than Microsoft have tried it, you know).

and many of your favorite sites will end up having to close down because they will not be able to pay for their hosting services.

Huh? How is the price of my web hosting going to go up because somebody can get a link to a UPS package tracking page? The only people who'd be hurt by ad-embedding toolbars are people whose one, only and total source of revenue is in forcing people to look at ads. But as I've explained above, we're never going to see a proliferation of ad-embedding toolbars, so this is irrelevant.

For those who do not know, Microsoft tried to do this back in 2001 and and they will have the green light to try again.

Oh, wait, didn't I mention something about that in my article? You know, I think I did.

AutoLinks is step one in a plan to funnel billions of dollars to the major portals. In the end, they will be perfectly wedged in between the major retailers and the consumers. This is a very subtle power grab.

This is what I don't get. Some people are worried that Google will become the next Microsoft. I understand that. I don't understand you, because you seem to have decided that Google's destiny is already set in stone, and that it is an inevitable fact that Google will become a plague o'er the land by turning into a greedy, soulless monopoly hundreds of times worse than anything yet seen. But you've got absolutely nothing to justify that belief; when you have something other than pure paranoia on which to base an argument, come back and we'll talk.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
Hype is the wrong word. (2.33 / 3) (#97)
by yath on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 10:44:14 PM EST

There has been some negative response to Google's autolink feature. Calling it "hype" is misleading, however. Hype is normally associated with an organized attempt to draw attention to something. The response of bloggers should be assumed to be a more grassroots event, with each post reflecting the opinion of an individual.

Perhaps, by calling it "hype", you wish to imply that bloggers are acting with a bit of a herd mentality. I'm afraid that the word still doesn't fit, since there is no master blogger sitting in his control room issuing orders and attempting to organize the response. Even Dave Winer, one of the most vociferous anti-autolink bloggers, exerts only influence, and not control.

In summary: you have misused the word hype, and in doing so, misrepresented the nature of the blogosphere.

P.S. There are plenty of bloggers who feel that autolink is nothing to get upset over, and that others are overreacting, such as Brian Carnell.

Smart tags 'would have'? (none / 0) (#99)
by Kasreyn on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 11:32:11 PM EST

I was running IE 6 the other day, just to quickly remind myself why I switched to Firefox, and I encountered a smart tag in the wild. Yes, the green link to an ad.

So what's with this "would have"? Maybe they never caught on a great deal, but they appear to be out there in limited numbers.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Simple issue (none / 0) (#109)
by cdguru on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 11:19:45 AM EST

If Google puts in links that the original author likes, it is a non-issue. If the tool puts in links that tend to distort the original meaning of the author, present the author in a denigrating fashion or otherwise present the page in a less than favorable manner - according to the author - then it is a bad thing.

Assuming the author and the user both have zero control over what is linked and where it is linked to, it is anyone's guess as to what the results will be of the user clicking the button.

So, let's see. If your page extolling the benefits of Linux is "autolinked" to pages that refer to nothing but "Linux Weenies", some out of date stuff that says how incredibly difficult Linux is to use, and perhaps some Amazon listings for Microsoft software this would not be what you had in mind. However this starts out, this is exactly the sort of thing that can happen. It will likely depend on both the exact formulation of pages and the page rank of pages that are selected for being linked to. How about if the links for DailyKos pages are exclusively made to www.littlegreenfootballs.org? Yes, this is unlikely, but assuming there is no human review of the links being made it is entirely possible.

Now we just have to decide if we like this sort of thing being possible or not.

Problem (none / 1) (#113)
by ubernostrum on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 02:11:36 PM EST

AutoLink doesn't link to things which are debatable, or on which there are differeing opinions. Republicans dont think that a given ISBN corresponds to a different book than Democrats, and whether you like you like Linux or Windows isn't going to change which package a tracking number is associated with.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
Do people Actually Know What AutoLink Does? (none / 1) (#142)
by Mousky on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 12:43:46 AM EST

AutoLink does "distort the original meaning of the author". AutoLink creates links for addresses, VINs, ISBNs, and Tracking Numbers. It does not change any existing links. It does not change the content. If the unlinked ISBN was 123456780, the linked ISBN will be 123456780 with an underline and blue font.

[ Parent ]
Winer's a whiner. No, really. (none / 1) (#110)
by grout on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 12:13:22 PM EST

I had the bad fortune to be in a group discussion "with" Winer once. He was the only one in, oh, 40 or so people who had to be told REPEATEDLY not to hold loud conversations while other people were talking to the group.

If Winer hates something, it's probably a threat to his ego, but not to anything else.
--
Chip Salzenberg, Free-Floating Agent of Chaos

Whining Winer (none / 0) (#150)
by camilow on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:36:24 PM EST

It is well known that Dave Winer loves to whine so as to attract attention to himself. He has, as usual, succeeded.

[ Parent ]
on client-side content modifcation (2.66 / 3) (#115)
by the77x42 on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 02:45:36 PM EST

i'm all for it. i don't have flash or javascript enabled by default. i want black text on a grey background with blue links. i don't want any pretty pictures or roll over menus. i want the web the way it was 15 years ago.

stop whining if you think your content is getting changed -- it sucks anyway.


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

If you're really serious... (none / 0) (#138)
by ramses0 on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 10:46:05 PM EST

Look at the "WebDeveloper Extension" for Firefox...

Disable: Images, PageColors, Styles.

Viola... A really great-looking black, blue, and purple experience.  Enjoy.

--Robert
[ rate all comments , for great ju
[
Parent ]

heh. (none / 1) (#116)
by kpaul on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 06:39:36 PM EST

better bad news...


2014 Halloween Costumes

heh. (none / 0) (#129)
by fragmal on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 12:27:44 PM EST




The content in this comment is protected under the Creative Commons License. Details about the Creative Commons License can be found here.
[ Parent ]
Oh no copyright! (2.50 / 2) (#122)
by Shii on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 08:09:05 PM EST

Let me get this straight. 1) "Deep linking" does not violate copyright, because the Web is all about linking, even if someone doesn't want a particular kind of link. 2) Ad blocking does not violate copyright, because it's on the user side, and users can view pages however they want. 2) A user-side automatic link function violates copyright, because I don't want a particular kind of link, and I don't want users to view pages however they want! Have I summarized these positions correctly?

whoops (3.00 / 2) (#123)
by Shii on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 08:10:15 PM EST

Shit, I should have previewed that, eh? Let's try again.

1) "Deep linking" does not violate copyright, because the Web is all about linking, even if someone doesn't want a particular kind of link.

2) Ad blocking does not violate copyright, because it's on the user side, and users can view pages however they want.

3) A user-side automatic link function violates copyright, because I don't want a particular kind of link, and I don't want users to view pages however they want!

Have I summarized these positions correctly?

[ Parent ]

The *REAL* issue. (2.00 / 2) (#128)
by FieryTaco on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 12:24:29 PM EST

It has nothing to do with authors intent. With artistic freedom. With free speech. It's to do with Google attempting to make a buck from my work without paying me for it. How happy do you think Google would be if I developed a plugin that, whenever you visited Google it replaced their adds with mine? And when you visit a website that utilizes Google's Ad service, it replaced those with mine? It's the user's choice to install my toolbar right? But you can bet Google, and all the little Google groupies and fanbois, would be up in arms about it. Fuck Google and their autolinks.

That's not a fair comparison (none / 1) (#130)
by Mysidia on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 05:20:51 PM EST

Google isn't removing ads from your site. They're adding link decorations and searchability to the content according to the user's preferences.

If a computer user wants to setup their computer to decorate the sites they visit with someone else's ads, that's their right.



-Mysidia the insane @k5
[ Parent ]
Derivative Works (none / 1) (#134)
by silentbobbett on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 07:29:02 PM EST

No it isn't. Users cannot create derivative works, and a third party cannot profit by that action, unless both entities have the permission of the publisher to do so. This is not about display preferences. This is about changing the editorial of a published work that may very well cause financial damage to the publisher. "It's ok if the user wants it" is not an argument. I'm a user. I'd like access to you bank account because that will help me. Please publish the details at your earliest convienience ;)

[ Parent ]
Really? (none / 1) (#137)
by ubernostrum on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 09:45:46 PM EST

So I can't make a note in the margin of a book I've bought?




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
Specifics (none / 0) (#141)
by Mousky on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 12:35:41 AM EST

This is not about changing the editorial of a published work. It is about creating links for 4 specific items: an address, VIN, ISBN or tracking number. Creating a link for these items does not cause any financial damage to the publisher. If Barnes & Noble was silly enough to publish unlinked ISBNs, then it is their own fault for losing any potential business. It is also their own fault for not contacting Google (or a competing toolbar product) to get their web site listed as a choice. I hope you don't use any ad blockers on your computer - unless you have the permission of the publisher to remove ads from web pages.

[ Parent ]
Actually... (none / 0) (#131)
by ubernostrum on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 05:20:57 PM EST

Google doesn't seem to care too much if you reformat or alter its pages.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
Also (none / 1) (#133)
by ubernostrum on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 06:40:23 PM EST

AutoLink doesn't put ads in a page.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
Re: Also (none / 1) (#135)
by FieryTaco on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 07:41:17 PM EST

AutoLink sends you to Google Maps where they sell ad space. Sends you to whatever vehicle history service where they, assuredly, get a cut of whatever money your visit generates. Takes you to Amazon, where again, they make a buck.

Google for sure doesn't want you using their service without being part of the revenue stream. The fact that you linked to some Google shill who linked to a number of gimmick pages doesn't change the fact that Google would shit themselves if you distributed a toolbar that specifically targeted Google's ads.

[ Parent ]

Google doesn't get paid. (none / 1) (#136)
by ubernostrum on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 09:45:24 PM EST

Google's not getting paid by Amazon for sending traffic their way. Google's not getting paid by Carfax for sending traffic their way. And you can configure which map service you use -- Google's is just the default.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
New Internet Terms of Service (none / 0) (#160)
by JohnLamar on Wed Mar 09, 2005 at 10:22:02 PM EST

Due to this whole fiasco I've decided to update my terms of service on my own website.

See if it makes sense:

Mintruth.Com Usage Policy
Users of this website are forbidden to navigate (surf) away from the Mintruth.Com domain once the main page is loaded. All surfing must be between the forums.mintruth.com, wiki.mintruth.com and blog.mintruth.com sites. Any attempts to exit the site will be seen as copyright infringment. If you are reading this Usage Policy in a web browser launched from a personal computer you are already in violation of section IX of this agreement as access is only allowed from WebTV clients version 1.2 released 10/22/1997...

You can see where this is going?
The worst thing you've ever seen
[ Parent ]

Umm.. (none / 1) (#140)
by Armada on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 11:15:32 PM EST

If Google starts making changes to the webpages I view, I'll get rid of the toolbar. It's not very difficult. In fact, I often wonder why I even have it, sometimes. It's just as easy to make Google a default search page.

Some People Are Stupid (none / 0) (#154)
by Mousky on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 12:07:47 AM EST

Who said that Google will make changed to the web pages you view? You have been reading too many rants based on fiction. AutoLink is a user intiated feature. First, the user has to enable AutoLink (it is disabled by default). Second, the user has to click on the AutoLink button to create links. Third, AutoLink only creates links for addresses, VINs, ISBNs and certain tracking numbers.

[ Parent ]
All the more reason to not care (none / 0) (#161)
by Armada on Wed Mar 09, 2005 at 11:31:42 PM EST

Basically, the point I was getting at was that I didn't care. If I had to disable it, I don't mind. I'd probably uninstall it if they had it enabled by default. If they don't, like you say, then why the hell is there an issue here? Trust me, I'm with you on this one. There's nothing wrong with Google offering something that users have the option of actually using.

Hell, I might even be tempted to turn it on sometimes. Who knows.

[ Parent ]

get rid of the toolbar (none / 0) (#162)
by dirvish on Sun Mar 13, 2005 at 03:21:25 PM EST

I only use the google toolbar with IE, and only to check site's page rank. Beyond that IE, and Google's toolbar, are ignored (in favor of Firefox)...so they can add all the lame "features" they want as long as they don't remove the page rank indicator. I understand that Google is fairly ubiquidous, so people are going to pay attention to what they do, but I agree with you: if you don't like it don't use it.

Technical Certification Blog, Anti Spam Blog
[ Parent ]
Don't mess with the client (3.00 / 2) (#147)
by WWWWolf on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 09:00:44 AM EST

Oh, so there's this JavaScript bit that's supposed to break the Google toolbar.

Let me also point out that there's also this JavaScript bit that's supposed to break the "Back" button, and another that's supposed to break the page/link/image context menu.

There are also that other JavaScript that's supposed to break the pop-up blocker software.

Get the picture?

You know, the clients may - with user's knowledge or not - do really bad things to the web pages. But I think it's always up to the users to decide which client features are bad for them, and what are good for them. The web has never really been about dictating how and what client software may be used, and people who try to do that are ultimately headed to their doom anyway.

The Google bar isn't yet doing anything that would be really deceptive, and it won't do anything wrong either - After all, this feature still needs user intervention to operate, and the user knows Google messes with the page.


-- Weyfour WWWWolf, a lupine technomancer from the cold north...


anti-autolink video and petition (none / 0) (#149)
by Marknot on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 05:06:49 PM EST

http://www.betterbadnews.com/22
http://www.petitiononline.com/autolink/petition-sign.html

The video is a dramatization, and a little campy, but they do hit on the points that have many in the industry concern.

Many in the industry are hypocrites (none / 0) (#153)
by Mousky on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 10:59:53 PM EST

You are wrong. The video is an over dramatization. Who are these "many in the industry"? Rubel, Winer, Scoble and Zeldman have become media darlings for supposedly uncovering the true and evil intent of Google. Their 15 seconds of fame will be over soon - though Rubel is trying to extend through the petition.

These people are disingenuous, talking about 'you can't change my content' or 'AutoLink will affect my revenue stream'. Really? Where is Rubel's petition against ad blockers that remove ads which are a revenue stream for many web sites? Where is Rubel's petition against various Firefox extensions that do exactly what AutoLink does? These "many in the industry" are hypocrites, plain and simple. While ranting about control over content and copyright law, they conveniently forget about fair use and personal use.

[ Parent ]

Butler: Turnabout is fair play (none / 1) (#163)
by Robin Lionheart on Tue Mar 15, 2005 at 07:21:45 PM EST

Mark Pilgrim has written Bulter, a Firefox extension (using greasemonkey) which alters Google pages to remove ads, fix fonts, and add links to other search engines/news/movie/book/product sites.

An eloquent bit of code, which Google Blogoscopes regards as a political statement.



Google's AutoLink: getting to the real issue | 164 comments (153 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
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