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Google Gets Away With What Microsoft Couldn't 481

Posted by Zonk
from the you-can-tell-a-book-by-its-cover dept.
FreshlyShornBalls writes "WebProNews is reporting that Google's new beta toolbar apparently sports an "AutoLink" feature which appends hyperlinks to existing content. These hyperlinks, of course, point to their services, such as maps for addresses, isdn numbers for books, etc. Sounds an awful lot like Microsoft's "Smart Tags"." Update by J : ... except that Microsoft's proposal was in the monopoly browser while Google's software is a third-party add-on, and Microsoft's was (originally) on by default while Google's is a button to click.
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Google Gets Away With What Microsoft Couldn't

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  • by odano (735445) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:26PM (#11714588)
    Microsoft is Evil
    Google is Not (yet!)
    • Re:It is simple (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pbranes (565105) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:35PM (#11714737)
      I think we need to stop thinking of Google and MS as good vs. evil. They are both companies out to make a profit. Google chooses to make a profit by showing us advertisements, while Microsoft chooses to make a profit by getting us to buy their software. Neither is less or more evil than the other - they both answer to consumers when the screw up something, and since consumers control the almighty dollar, they are answerable to us. The problem is that most consumers can't agree on what color blue is, much less whether a company is doing something that is too invasive or not.
      • Re:It is simple (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalker.gmail@com> on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:52PM (#11715036) Journal
        Though honesty is important as well. Google's motto is do no wrong, and I for one am inclind to believe them. Microsoft has burned me one to many times for me to trust them. So far I still trust Google. Just like I have a few close friends that I would give them the keys to my house if they asked, I see nothing wrong with trusting certain coperations over others.
        • Re:It is simple (Score:5, Insightful)

          by pbranes (565105) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:56PM (#11715089)
          A corporation isn't a person, even though we like to think of it that way. When you hand your keys over to one corporation, you are really handing it over to thousands and thousands of individual people - some of whom have good intentions, and some of whom have bad intentions. I do not trust a corporation as a collection whole.
          • Re:It is simple (Score:3, Interesting)

            by jocknerd (29758)
            You are right, a corporation is not a person. They are just granted the same rights as one in the U.S. And because the executives of American corporations don't have to deal with the consequences of their actions like CEO's of foreign corporations, our corporations only act in the interest of the majority stockholders.
          • by ArcticCelt (660351) on Friday February 18, 2005 @03:53PM (#11715787)
            And if in any case someone want to believe that a corporation have a personality I will then suggest to watch this movie : "The Corporation" [imdb.com].

            "...One central theme of the documentary is an attempt to assess the "personality" of the corporate "person" by using diagnostic criteria like the DSM-IV; Robert Hare, a University of British Columbia Psychology Professor and FBI consultant, compares the modern, profit-driven corporation to that of a clinically diagnosed psychopath..."

            By the way I am not a communist hippy but a proud owner of two company's and think that honesty and business can go together.

            Depending who take responsibility for the actions of the corporation some companies act better than others, the problem with public companies is that nobody wants to take responsibility for their negatives actions. Stockholders want no responsibility but profit and CEO's claim they have to obey to stockholders.

        • Re:It is simple (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dynamo (6127) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:58PM (#11715106) Journal
          Exactly. You build a relationship with any entity you interact with, and Google has treated me very, very well. I've almost always enjoyed working with Google products, while I've almost always become angry when working with microsoft products.

          Google is a good company and I trust them until they break that trust.

          ONE too many times? You have to be kidding, unless after that one time you just stopped using MS products forever (which is damn near impossible, even with my magical consumer dollar power. I have to work.)
      • Re:It is simple (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mrchaotica (681592) on Friday February 18, 2005 @03:06PM (#11715218)
        they both answer to consumers when the screw up something
        Microsoft hasn't had to answer to their customers in any meaningful way in years, and you know it!
      • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Friday February 18, 2005 @03:17PM (#11715347) Homepage
        I think we need to stop thinking of Sears and the Mafia as good vs. evil. They are both companies out to make a profit. Sears chooses to make a profit by buying clothing items in bulk and selling them individually at a higher price, while the Mafia chooses to make a profit by not burning down people's businesses in exchange for money. Neither is less or more evil than the other - they both answer to consumers when they screw up something, and since consumers control the almighty dollar, they are answerable to us. The problem is that most consumers can't agree on what color blue is, much less whether a company such as the Mafia is doing something that is too invasive or not.
    • Re:It is simple (Score:3, Insightful)

      by baudbarf (451398)
      By the time Microsoft became evil, or, by the time Microsoft's evil became apparent, it was too late to stop them.

      Giving Google absolute power is no better than giving Microsoft absolute power, the only difference is that Google does not seem corrupt enough to abuse it yet. And yet, absolute power is often cited as a CAUSE of corruption.

      The reason that the U.S. Constitution limits presidential terms is because there may come a dictator who begins to tear the country apart. "We The People" have a chance
  • Easy Tiger! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hedgehog2097 (688249) * on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:26PM (#11714589)
    Easy tiger - for this to work, you have to click a button on each and every page you want to temporarily create these links on. It took 3 minutes to confirm that. Is the art of journalism dead?

    This is an opt-in feature designed to help people who want it. Google aren't ramming this down people's throats.

    There is also the option to change the default mapping app - you can switch between Mapquest and Yahoo maps in addition to Google's offering. A nice touch - google didn't have to do that. It's just a shame this only works for US addresses right now.

    Of course, this is all academic. It runs on IE, and the average /. reader won't touch that with a bargepole.

    I of course detonated the PC I used to test the toolbar in a controlled explosion a few minutes ago.
    • Re:Easy Tiger! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by arkanes (521690)
      Anyone who can't see the difference between an optional feature in an opt-in addon and a default feature installed on 90% of the worlds PCs need a good smacking.
    • Re:Easy Tiger! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by no parity (448151) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:30PM (#11714654)
      This is an opt-in feature designed to help people who want it. Google aren't ramming this down people's throats.

      The obvious reply: Would you say the same if it was Microsoft?

      • by Anonymous Coward
        See the truth is "Of course not."

        But I don't want to look like a hypocrite, or give up my dogma, so I've got to complicate everything by lying, and calling you a "M$FT fanboy, who's too stupid to know any better." Now stop trolling me with relevant questions.
        • I'd like to think that that's wrong. We all know the vast majority of users don't touch the default settings, so if Microsoft implemented this, but didn't turn it on by default, I can't see why anyone would freak out... but then again this is Slashdot.
      • Re:Easy Tiger! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ADRA (37398) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:37PM (#11714801)
        I don't think I've ever heard outrage about an optional opt-in 'feature' so far. If you're so averse to a company and their dubious products, don't DL/buy it. If you're forced to through your company, I pity thou.

        Wait, there was an opt-in feature. When XP was installed, it told you to install a new passport account. You don't really need to setup MS passport , but most people seeing it thought it was, or were to indifferent to ignore it.
        • Re:Easy Tiger! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by |<amikaze (155975) * on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:44PM (#11714907)
          You don't really need to setup MS passport , but most people seeing it thought it was, or were to indifferent to ignore it.

          It really helped how it popped up every 20 minutes, "HEY! You could be the proud owner of a FREE passport account!!!" in those little speech bubbles. Makes it hard to ignore, especially when you know that if you go through the process that damn bubble will go away.
      • If it was a seperate download, not included or facilitated in XP or IE, and allowed you to switch to other information providers, then while I can't speak for everyone I would say the same in that case.
      • Re:Easy Tiger! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by White Roses (211207) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:46PM (#11714929)
        Microsoft doesn't appear to be able (or remember how) to do anything that doesn't involve ramming something down someone's throat, so, really, the question is moot. With Microsoft, it's not a matter of opt-in, or opt-out. You can't easily (some would say ever) opt-out of IE on your Windows computer. Can you opt-out of ActiveX controls? Until the EU's case, you couldn't really opt-out of Media Player. By opt-out, I mean, I can get rid of it and still have a working, functional Windows system. Google doesn't have that kind of power. Frankly, neither should MS.
    • Re:Easy Tiger! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sriram_2001 (670877)
      Guess what - Microsoft's SmartTags were far less evil. The website owner had complete control over the SmartTags. Here. Google offers no such control. So let's say you are on MapQuest.com - the Google toobar would still give you a link to their own Google maps. Sorry folks - just another example of cognitive dissonance
      • Re:Easy Tiger! (Score:2, Insightful)

        by JakusMinimus (49854)
        Guess what - Microsoft's SmartTags were far less evil.
        Bullshit.

        The website owner had complete control over the SmartTags.

        And this is why your opening statement is bullshit. Google's solution empowers the user/consumer whereas Microsoft's empowered Microsoft and any it could co-opt into using Smart Tags.
    • by bcmm (768152)
      A controlled explosion?
      You were running IE under Wine then?
    • Bargepole (Score:5, Funny)

      by BobPaul (710574) * on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:59PM (#11715124) Journal
      It runs on IE, and the average /. reader won't touch that with a bargepole

      For those slashdot users who would touch IE if they had a barge pole:

      General Purpose 6-12 ft extension pole [doityourself.com]
      Avery Push Pole (for water use) [cabelas.com]

    • Re:Easy Tiger! (Score:3, Informative)

      by 1u3hr (530656)
      Is the art of journalism dead?

      The writer isn't a journalist: "Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 15 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience." It looks like he just copied it from a blog withot checking it out. He can't spell either ("Gary eludes to it").

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:27PM (#11714598)
    It's ISBN not ISDN
  • Not a monolopy ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:28PM (#11714624) Homepage
    Microsoft has an almost total monolopy on PCs. If Microsoft does this, it's anti-competitive. They have been convicted as monolopists.

    If Googles optional toolbar points at their services, that is hardly an abuse of a monolopy. Heck, I don't even have a google tool bar, I don't want one.

    But at work, I'm forced to have a windows machine.

    Until or unless Google becomes a big monolopy who can force everyone to use their crap, the fact that Google does something that would be illegal for Microsoft to do is irrelevant.

    Why is this so tough?

    • by Kenja (541830) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:41PM (#11714865)
      "But at work, I'm forced to have a windows machine."

      You'r "forced" to have a windows machine at work? So did Bill Gates and his storm troopers kick down your door one day, shanghai you and chain you to a desk in some tech support hell?

      Or are you "forced" in the same way that dairy worker is "forced" to work with dairy products or a carpenter is "forced" to work with wood?

      • by Anonymous Coward
        > You'r "forced" to have a windows machine at work? So did Bill Gates and his storm troopers kick down your door one day, shanghai you and chain you to a desk in some tech support hell?

        Don't be such an ass. If a company requires a Windows desktop PC, and you can't install anything else on it, then YES, you're forced to use a Windows machine. What's so hard to understand that (unless you're a Microsoft apologist)?
        • by Kenja (541830)
          "If a company requires a Windows desktop PC, and you can't install anything else on it, then YES, you're forced to use a Windows machine. What's so hard to understand that (unless you're a Microsoft apologist)?"

          So there are no other jobs? If using a Windows system is such a hardship that you catagorize it as being "forced" in the same way your "forced" to put on clothing or get out of bed in the morning then I would recomend a change of jobs. I've had jobs where I was "forced" to use Solaris, Macs, and yes

          • Have you looked at the IT job market lately? While it's better than it was in 2000-2001, it's hardly what one could call robust. In the real world, most of us have to put some of our lesser held ideals aside to provide basics, like food, clothing and shelter.
          • by dAzED1 (33635)
            methinks you put a weee bit too much S&M connotations into the word "forced."

            Is he saying that he doesn't like his job? He's saying is that part of his job's requirement is that he uses windows. Not all that insane - its part of my job requirement. If I want to work here, then I too am *forced* to use windows. Its a condition that he'd rather not have, as part of a larger thing (employment) that he wants.

            I want to have a comfortable, clean, house that I can live in. As part of that, I am forced t

        • by babyrat (314371)
          becuase the original comment was comparing monopolist practices - google vs microsoft.

          so it is a perfectly valid comment to indicate that in that instance Microsoft is NOT forcing him to use windows - his company is. different story completely.
    • It seems quite unfair to bar Microsoft from adding new features to their software just because everyone uses their software.
    • I am effin in tears at the repeated use of "monolopy" in this post. Transposing the L and the P once is understandable, but doing it throughout the whole post is just plain hilarious.
    • by LnxAddct (679316)
      The best part is not only is the toolbar optional but to turn the linking feature on you have to press a button each time you'd like it to autolink stuff. (i.e. once per web page/per view) so the feature isn't even pushed on you even if you decided to grab the toolbar. Furthermore, Google made it extremely easy to switch the mapping service to two of their comptetitors, MapQuest and Yahoo! Maps. Microsoft would never ever do a thing like that. This is why Google is Good, and Microsoft is evil forevermore :)
  • by doorbender (146144) <doorbender@@@hotmail...com> on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:28PM (#11714627) Homepage
    takes over your browser integrates it with the OS and forces you to see the links. then they are getting away with something MS didn't .... quite
  • by macsox (236590) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:29PM (#11714631) Journal
    yes, it has an optional feature that does this. and that optional feature has different levels of link creation.

    and for pete's sake, slashdot, if you're going to get paranoid and argumentative, at least do it on the day the story broke [scripting.com] so it has some currency.
  • maybe (Score:3, Funny)

    by dance2die (596340) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:30PM (#11714661) Journal
    maybe, google toolbars are not "SMART" enough to be considered to be evil?(yet)?
  • Microsoft controls the OS so they could integrate smart tags for their benefit and control and the user has no choice.

    vs Google toolbar which you can optionally download. Don't like it, don't download it.

    Simple.
  • by Miara (724648) <`miara2003' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:31PM (#11714677)
    AutoLink will add tags to web pages that take you to other places in services that were accessible to everyone. SmartLink was intended to replace existing tags with links to places MS wanted you to go, and to add links that would only work if you happened to be running Windows. Not that I like this idea either, but it's not exactly the same evil.
    • SmartLink was intended to replace existing tags with links to places MS wanted you to go, and to add links that would only work if you happened to be running Windows.

      This was modded informative? Man, I want some of that moderator crack. First off, I assume you're referring to Microsft's Smart Tags (no idea what "SmartLink" is). Second, it wasn't at all intended to replace existing links. It was in addition to any links on the pages (think similar to VibrantMedia's intellitext crap, but way less intr

  • by FreeUser (11483) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:31PM (#11714683)
    Google gets away with what Microsoft couldn't

    Oh Good Lord what rock have you been under for the last 15 years.

    Microsoft is a monopolist convicted of using that monopoly in unlawfully anti-competative ways to run competitors out of business. They've violated in spirit and letter numerous consent decrees, agreements with government, and even court orders, and gotten away with it because their cycle of business is orders of magnitude faster than the wheels of justice.

    As a convicted monopolist, Microsoft must play by a different set of rules than everyone else, like, say, Google, which has never been convicted of anything in the US (and quite IMHO bugus trademark violations in France).

    You might as well say "Joe's Computers get away with what Microsoft Couldn't." Damn straight. Joe's Computers, like Google, haven't been shown to even be a monopoly, much less convicted of abusing such a position if they had it. Microsoft has, on all counts.
    • No conviction (Score:2, Insightful)

      by davegust (624570)

      As a convicted monopolist...

      Microsoft was not "convicted" of anything. The company was the defendant in a civil action [usdoj.gov], not a crimial case. You sound like a fool using that ridiculous term.

  • by BlueThunderArmy (751258) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:32PM (#11714691) Homepage
    ...if it weren't for that pesky Slashdot!
  • ISDN? (Score:2, Informative)

    by wvn (798192)
    isdn numbers for books I thought it was called ISBN...
  • OMG!!! No! (Score:5, Funny)

    by eno2001 (527078) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:35PM (#11714738) Homepage Journal
    What Google has done is completely different because it didn't come from Microsoft. Microsoft has been operating a sweatshop of coding gnomes. They pay them only in fractions of a farthing per month! Whereas Google employs a crack team of trained code sphinxes who test their search technology daily with vexing questions. Google pays their sphinxes well and because of that the sphinxes coded this new technology that is quite superior to Microsoft's magic links technology. So don't fear the sphinxes for they are your friends. Microsoft abuses gnomes. They are evil.

    Yes. Laugh... it's absurdist! ;P
    • by eno2001 (527078)
      Whilst I appreciate being modded up as informative for the parent post, I find it scary that someone may have actually taken my post regarding sphinxes and gnomes to heart. After all, there is a major flaw in the previous post. I left out the most important detail that Bill Gates was an escapee from the Roswell UFO crash in the 40s. Hence his power to subjugate gnomes and corral giant trolls (Ballmer). :P Sorry for the oversight.
  • by BillsPetMonkey (654200) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:35PM (#11714739)
    I did wonder how long the "Microsoft Inc Bad, Google Inc Good" pastiche could last.

    Just because its founders are young and "wacky" doesn't mean they can't make very corporate decisions in polo shirts instead of pinstripe shirts. The platitude about "thinking outside the box" already sounds trite coming from Google. The decision to fire a blogger for speaking up [infoworld.com] is proof that Google has a PR department just like any other corporate minded drone army.

    Bill Gates was once young and just as idealistic as Sergey and Brin. Bill Gates once said that he was planning to give away most if not all of his fortune to charity - I bet he wasn't labelled "evil" back then ...
    • by William_Lee (834197) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:44PM (#11714912)
      "Bill Gates once said that he was planning to give away most if not all of his fortune to charity - I bet he wasn't labelled "evil" back then ..."

      Just to chime in, I hate M$ as much as the next red blooded /.er, but Bill Gates has given away more than most people in the history of philanthropy. He's already donated about a third of his net worth to charity. Cut the guy some slack on this front. I don't know how anyone could criticize this guy from a philanthropy perspective.

      From http://www.beliefnet.com/story/34/story_3450_1.htm l

      regarding his contributions:

      "I don't mean the actual figure, which is itself an unimaginable $22 billion. Rather, I refer to the percentage of his wealth he has donated. Still in his early 40s, Gates has now distributed about one third of everything he has to charity."
    • He *is* giving away most of his fortune to charity. You might have a problem with how he makes his money- but no one can question the way in which he spends his personal fortune. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation have contributed billions and billions to causes around the world. And some of those things are far greater causes than the ability to 'share' software
    • The decision to fire a blogger for speaking up [infoworld.com] is proof that Google has a PR department just like any other corporate minded drone army.

      The guy had been at Google for like a month (if that) and was telling the world all the things he found cruddy about Google.

      Guess what, if you stood on the streetcorner and did that, your employer would fire you too.

      Get a grip, the guy was a morn and got what he deserved. If he had worked for me, I would have fired him too.
  • by Dephex Twin (416238) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:38PM (#11714810) Homepage
    A major issue of creating "smart links" (even though these aren't exactly the same as smart links) is one of trust. Can we trust Google that they aren't going to take advantage of us with a feature like this? Well, just look at their track record, where they consistently go above and beyond what consumers expect and set a new standard in user-friendliness.

    Why should Google treating its users with respect and consistently creating a quality product be worth nothing? This article sounds like it is using the logic of an eight year old.

    Microsoft is the company known for being a big bully who uses its position of power to cram things down its users throats. It is the opposite of Google. This is why the reaction is different, and perfectly valid as well.

    I am also much less inclined to trust Microsoft's search engine, Microsoft's maps, etc. than anything Google puts out there.
  • hah! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CaptainPinko (753849) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:39PM (#11714820)
    when microsoft divests itself of operating systems then we'll talk, until then it's two seperate cases.

    Here is a quick example and counter-argument: Mr. Mizter: Why can't I marry a blonde? Mr. Foo married one. I should be able to marry one too...
    Mr. Bar:...but you've already married a brunette whereas Mr.Foo hasn't. If you'd like to seperate from your brunette then you can feel free to have yourself a try at marry a blonde.

    Google is not getting away with anything.

  • by sriram_2001 (670877) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:40PM (#11714838)
    I find it surprising that most /.ers, while criticizing the MPAA and the RIAA for placing restrictions on the way their content is used, balk when website content is manipulated on the browser end.

    Microsoft's Smarttags could have had great benefits and brought about semantic-web like features if only people weren't paranoid. After all, the website owner had full control over how and where smart tags were displayed on his page.

    Now, 3 years later, Google does a stripped down version of the same to make themselves more money (MS' smart tag gave the website owner options - Google does not), and we all scream asking for the equivalent of DRM on web pages.

    We who don't want to pay for the music and movies, who don't want to pay for software, who believe in the 'creative commons', throw a collective fit when a user agent wants to do something cool with the HTML already downloaded to the computer already.

    It's been over a decade since the first browser - and all we have to show for it from Microsoft, Netscape, Opera and Mozilla put together is what? A new way of doing tables and tabs!

    Stop cribbing and let someone innovate.
  • trustworthiness (Score:3, Insightful)

    by supernova87a (532540) <kepler1@hot[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:41PM (#11714858)
    It's just like people -- when you build a relationship of usefulness and trust with someone, they'll look upon your new ideas with less skepticism and maybe more tolerance for a commercial venture, and won't feel like you're blatantly exploiting them!
  • If Google implements this feature in their own GBrowser (assuming this ever comes to fruition), wouldn't Google be pulling as much of a Microsoft as Microsoft did with smart tags? Regardless of monopolistic history?
  • Scared (Score:3, Funny)

    by Bwana (2384) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:48PM (#11714966) Homepage
    Google scares me. Taking over the world one service at a time.
  • BIG Difference (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rkischuk (463111) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:55PM (#11715069)
    Microsoft's smart-tags co-opted text in a page to link to what were, in essence, advertisements. Google is pointing to services that are funded by advertisements - big difference. And the fact that Google isn't leveraging monopoly power to force it on people - they're using an optional program, and an optional feature in that program.

    Some of the difference is qualitative. In a smart tag envioronment, it felt like we were going to be advertised to - like text saying "broadband" might be linked to MSN broadband. In this case, it feels like Google is trying to be legitimately helpful in a way that also happens to generate cash for them. If I see directions on a page, having the option of asking Google to magically link that address into Google maps is a good thing.

    The business model is different. Google makes money because they help you. You have lots of choices, and still choose Google, and all of us can use something else the moment they piss us off. Microsoft was shoehorning smart tags in because people don't know they have a choice in web browsers. Users would either be annoyed or oblivous to smart tags, but would put up with it for a (perceived) lack of options. Google needs users, users "need" Microsoft - that's the differing dynamic.

  • I like the idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DudeBroccoli (316192)
    Sounds pretty convenient. I'd like a firefox extension that does that. Of course, I'd want it configurable so I could choose what gets hyperlinked, and where the links go.
  • linkification (Score:3, Informative)

    by jd142 (129673) on Friday February 18, 2005 @03:00PM (#11715143) Homepage
    This just seems like an extension (pardon the word) of the linkification extension for Firefox. linkification makes non-linked urls and email addresses clickable. And I like the extension.

    The google tool just seems to be a bit more intelligent (and maybe pushy, but we'll see) about the sorts of things it makes into links.

    There's also a vast difference between MS linking back to its products and google linking a ups tracking number to the ups site. The latter does something that's actually useful. The former tries to make you use all MS all the time. That's a big difference.

    Others have already pointed out the MS "It's now a feature you can't turn off" and Google "Here's the tool if you want to download it" attitudes.
  • by javaxman (705658) on Friday February 18, 2005 @03:04PM (#11715199) Journal
    It's very simple, and nobody should be shocked by the double standard.

    I will treat _any_ company that is not a monopoly differently than a monopoly.

    When the monopolist does it, it's abuse, because it might be difficult to find alternatives, or to remove it. Anyone else? If I don't like their product/service, it's easy to dump it. But when so many lame-ass websites write IE-specific content because it's the main browser in use, and it's the main browser because it comes with the 'standard' operating system, and it's the 'standard' operating system because of anti-competitive licensing strategies ( among other unfriendly business strategies ), it's somehow reasonable that I don't want Microsoft to foist their content on me when I didn't ask for it.

    Having said that, I don't use Google's toolbar, either, and somehow I don't think I would. I'm pretty sure I have bookmarks and tools that do all of the things it does. That or I just don't understand what makes it 'cool'...

  • by WidescreenFreak (830043) on Friday February 18, 2005 @03:07PM (#11715227) Homepage Journal
    Okay. So, take a web site with lots of advertising. Let's say .. Slashdot. They depend on that advertising to generate revenue to keep that web site afloat.

    Now, here comes Google with links to its own services that are funded by ... you guessed it ... Google advertisers. So, now Google is potentially usurping Slashdot's advertising by encouraging people who are using Slashdot's web site to purchase services or merchandice that are in turn paying Google for advertising.

    So, in effect Google is making Slashdot nothing more than a big-ass marketing tool for Google while not reimbursing Slashdot for the privilege. In fact, with respect to marketing they are indeed reducing the potential for Slashdot to make money on its own web site using its own advertisers. And they also are not going to give Slashdot the option of opting out of the practice.

    Given all of that, I think that I'd prefer Smart Tags, thank you.
    • So, in effect Google is making Slashdot nothing more than a big-ass marketing tool for Google while not reimbursing Slashdot for the privilege.

      Similarly, the Yellow pages provide information on services and goods mentioned on Slashdot. A Slashdot user may read about a new CPU, then look in the yellow pages for a computer store. So, in effect the yellow pages are making Slashdot nothing more than a big-ass marketing tool for the yellow pages while not reimbursing Slashdot for the privilege. Those bastard

  • earned trust.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jp_fielding (564550) on Friday February 18, 2005 @03:14PM (#11715305)
    buys you things that deception and malintent does not.
  • by hellfire (86129) <deviladv AT gmail DOT com> on Friday February 18, 2005 @03:18PM (#11715354) Homepage
    Read them both! Don't just read Web Pro news, but read the article the author at Web Pro News linked to. These are not the same thing! Damn, first slashdot doesn't RTFA, now it's a disease spreading to other sites!

    Look, Window's Smart Tags were not for internet explorer, they were for the entire operating system. Yes they extended to Word and other applications as well. It was a feature described to be in windows XP. And considering MS considers I.E. part of the operating system, and MS has a monopoly on the OS...

    Smart Tags are a cool idea, but what really is evil about MS's version is the potential forced tie ins. Would this functionality have directed the user to specific MSN sites or sites people chose to partner on the functionality? Could you right click on a word and select MSN search in order to make it easier for someone? Yes, but by using this OS muscle to create a new OS which basically forces you to search MSN in this manner and makes it less convenience to search, say, Google, then you are using your monopoly power unfairly and it's, yes, Evil(tm).

    You don't have to install Google toolbar, and you can configure it to go to other sites other than googles. Google quite possibly has a websearching monopoly, but then don't have a toolbar monopoly nor do they force you to install it on your machine.

    I'm not a google apologist nor do I think Google will always be a Good (tm) company. However, I hate how Slashdotters continue to fail to see the relevance of Monopolistic power in the "Evil" equation.

    That said, I hope this feature can be completely diactivated. I wouldn't even mind if this controversy did force them to remove it. NBC did this a long time ago with their NBCi initiative back at the start of the WW explosion. It sucked, and frankly, I don't find it all that convenient, even for beginning users. However that's just my opinion.
  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Friday February 18, 2005 @03:22PM (#11715411)
    Mother Teresa gets away with things that Adolf Hitler couldn't, film at 11.
  • by tcdk (173945) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @04:33AM (#11721094) Homepage Journal
    ... how about a small firefox plug-in that will allow you to right click on any word (or selected piece of text) and select to have a search done on it? Wouldn't that give some of the same functinality?

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