Google Toolbar Controversy Continues to Stir

    February 22, 2005

As a PR person it feels strange to be smack in the middle of the latest citizen journalistic movement, but at the same time highly educational.

Here are the latest updates on the Google Toolbar Autolink controversy. First, Dave Winer posted a draft document which explains why authors and publishers should tell Google to back down. Dave wrote…

Their toolbar takes a step down a treacherous slope, that changes the way the Web works as to make commerce, journalism and scholarship impossible. It will render agreements entered to on the web null and void. It invites Microsoft, with it’s virtual monopoly in browser, to do the same, to the detriment of the market, and even Google itself. In the current political climate it seems unlikely that the Department of Justice would intervene if Microsoft chose to match Google. The feature is poorly thought out, clearly breaks with Google’s culture (there’s no opt-out, even the search engine offers one).

Meanwhile, the mainstream media continue to spin the story. It appeared on today as well as in the Times of London over the weekend. Guess I won’t be able to show my face at the Googleplex…ever. Will Google acquiesce to the blogosphere? Should be interesting to watch.

Link: SF Chronicle article

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.