Google, in its juggernaut-esque manner has introduced the AutoLink option in the Google Toolbar.
“The AutoLink feature adds links to the page you’re viewing if it recognizes certain types of information on the page. For example, the online review of a great new restaurant has the business address but no map. You could go to a map site and type in the restaurant’s street, city, and ZIP code — but why bother? Clicking the Toolbar’s AutoLink button will automatically link you to a map. AutoLink also recognizes package shipping numbers, car VIN numbers, and book ISBN numbers.”
This “option” has all the privacy activists up in arms and almost everyone point to the controversial Smart Tags in Windows XP (withdrawn later). They, however forget that this is a purely voluntary extension in the Google Toolbar. Installing the toolbar itself is left to your discretion. Turning on the option of AutoLink is also user’s choice and it doesn’t alter existing links. Google’s Do No Evil motto, I think is still intact. The moment they will start ramming things down my throat under the excuse of enhancing user experience, I’ll immediately cry foul. But honestly, I consider Google a driver of innovation that has made the Web a better place to surf and AutoLinks is just another step in that direction.
Everyone however misses the main point entirely. Google Toolbar is an downloadable option for Internet Explorer. FireFox already has the Google search (along with host of other search engines) already built in. Why are you still using Internet Explorer?
[via Jason Kottke]