Google Gets Away With What Microsoft Couldn’t

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Google today launched a new version of its toolbar that employs a new feature called Autolink that turns non-linked content on Web sites into hotlinks back to Google properties and other sites.

MSN Being Chased
Does Google Receive Preferential Treatment?

Does Google’s new Autolink capabilities found on the updated version of their toolbar give them an unfair advantage? Discuss at WebProWorld.

Gary Price writes

For example, say your browsing a web page with numerous addresses on it. AutoLink will turn each of those addresses into direct links to the Google Maps database.

In addition to addresses, it will also add links for ISBNs, package tracking numbers, and vehicle identification numbers. This all has Greg Linden a bit spooked. I agree. How come nobody is crying foul here? Remember all the heat Microsoft took over its planned Smart Tags feature a few years ago? Gary alludes to it, but I think that there should be more discussion here.

Let’s face it, Google is to the Web what Microsoft is to PCs – the operating system everyone uses to search. It has nearly the same lock on consumers’ share of mind (sorry Yahoo). And millions use the Google Toolbar.

They shouldn’t get away with what Microsoft was unable to. It’s not fair and it shows that no matter what Google does, they can do no wrong in the eyes of the American public – at least for now. Could you imagine the uproar if Microsoft had tried this with the new MSN Toolbar Suite?

Google’s new toolbar.

UPDATE: Dan Gillmor also weighs in on this thread, saying Google’s move is a bad idea.

Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.

Google Gets Away With What Microsoft Couldn’t
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