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(Some Sore Webmaster)   Geeks ready to receive Google's new link-hijacking toolbar   ( ptech.wsj.com) divider line
    More: Scary  
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33114 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Mar 2005 at 11:35 PM (12 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



157 Comments     (+0 »)
 


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2005-03-10 04:05:32 PM  
Sure, if by "link-jacking" you mean "allowing users to, at their sole discretion, add useful links to previously unlinked text on a website"... you know, as opposed to having to copy and paste info like ISBNs into a different website.

I have some gently used clues for sale if you'd like one, submitter.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2005-03-10 07:43:33 PM  
Any neutral lawyers here who care to comment on this? If you believe Richard Stallman's interpretation of copyright law (I don't) this is an unauthorized creation of a derivative work. Visit a GPLed web site and the google code would become infected by the GPL.
 
2005-03-10 08:08:16 PM  
It's pretty much "much ado about nothing" at this point.

Not even close to the whole "smart tags" debacle.

Not yet, at least.
 
2005-03-10 09:40:54 PM  
 
2005-03-10 09:44:03 PM  
ZAZ: this is an unauthorized creation of a derivative work.

That would probably be reasonable if anyone published the modified page, but since it's for personal use only I think you'd have a rough time with that.

/IANAL
 
2005-03-10 10:05:13 PM  
Ahh yes... More google stuff...
Also Today: Check Out the New Google News
 
2005-03-10 11:04:20 PM  
First, you have to download it.
Second, you have to not be annoyed at how it modified your pages.
Third, you have to call your next door neighbor who is too busy on Fark or Slashdot to come over to your house to help you uninstall the stupid program.
Fourth... um... I don't have a fourth.
Fifth, PROFIT!
 
2005-03-10 11:39:17 PM  
In related news, how can I invest money in Mozilla?
 
sib
2005-03-10 11:39:39 PM  
google is the new microsoft, but worse...

they're eeevil
 
2005-03-10 11:40:14 PM  
Jeez. You can turn this feature off.
 
2005-03-10 11:41:10 PM  
Publishers can create and distribute content.

Viewers can view it however they please.

Google is the viewers choice. If it ever becomes someone's choice besides the publishers or viewers then you'll have issues.
 
lbn
2005-03-10 11:41:35 PM  
"You might wonder what gives any third party the right to edit or alter your Web page without your knowledge or permission."

I do, you idiot.

Once your page is downloaded to my computer I can do whatever the hell I feel like doing to it, including blocking your pop-ups, blocking your ads, or choosing to let a toolbar insert links that might be of interest.
 
2005-03-10 11:42:47 PM  
May the moron who wrote this article BURN IN FLAMES. OH MY FREAKING LORD, GOOGLE IS ALLOWING YOU TO AUTOMATICALLY LINK USEFUL INFORMATION! That is, if you download their toolbar, say yes to their very kind "This is not an ordinary download!" page, go to a website with the information, and click on the appropriate button! ARRRRRRRRGH
 
2005-03-10 11:43:14 PM  
 
2005-03-10 11:43:54 PM  
The bozo article author makes it sound like Google is "taking over your browser" rather than providing more linkage under your control. People like this guy go hunting for things to worry about.
 
2005-03-10 11:46:24 PM  
As much as people want to hate a corporation, Google just isn't deserving of it at all.
 
2005-03-10 11:48:54 PM  
Save the foaming nerd-rage for Slashdot.

Also, RMS loves the sound of his own voice.
 
2005-03-10 11:49:10 PM  
That would probably be reasonable if anyone published the modified page, but since it's for personal use only I think you'd have a rough time with that.

It's commercial because it's a "feature" of Google's toolbar, a commercial venture. Google will profit from these associative links.

IANAL, but IANA idiot either. This is bad any way you slice it. How in hell do I explain to my customers why other people's websites -- potentially competitor's websites -- are just one click away from their own home page?
 
2005-03-10 11:49:51 PM  
I for one welcome our new politically correct corporate overlords of the internet.
 
2005-03-10 11:50:40 PM  
For some strange reason, when I saw Balki's Homeland's post I could only think of one thing...

SharkSandwich
 
2005-03-10 11:51:19 PM  
Oh goodie! Let's discuss rms on Fark!
 
2005-03-10 11:52:17 PM  
That page has no auto-links. :(
 
2005-03-10 11:53:28 PM  
Is there a Firefox plugin for this yet?
 
2005-03-10 11:53:44 PM  
Oh, great.

Fark. It's like Slashdot, but with even more technicially ignorant users.
 
2005-03-10 11:54:01 PM  
tin foil hats for sale
 
2005-03-10 11:55:18 PM  
ZAZ: Yep, you're right. You don't understand rms.

Go read the GPL before commenting on it.
 
2005-03-10 11:55:58 PM  
Balki,

Studebaker folded.
 
2005-03-10 11:56:29 PM  
I installed the beat Google toolbar and love it, except for one problem. Whenever I click on a link to open a new page, the toolbar moves on the new page, up to the standard buttons bar. It happens even if I lock the toolbar. This did not happen with older versions of Google toolbar. Anyone else having this problem?
 
2005-03-10 11:56:32 PM  
Is there a Firefox plugin for this yet?

Probably
 
2005-03-10 11:56:36 PM  
/IANAL
 
2005-03-10 11:57:02 PM  
So, what does autolink exactly do? Anybody wanna educate me? (without having to rtf-faq on google)
 
2005-03-10 11:57:08 PM  
beta, not beat
 
2005-03-10 11:57:48 PM  
People are really itching to talk sh*t about Google. So many acts of volition are necessary before Google does anything to your site that this WSJ douchebag's article is meaningless. This is the equivalent of attacking beer companies for their product getting you drunk. You choose to use it for a purpose. If you don't want to use it for that purpose, you don't choose to use it.

Uninstalling the Google Toolbar is impossibly easy, too.
 
2005-03-10 11:57:50 PM  
bogey, bargirl24: The Google toolbar for Firefox is unofficial. I doubt they'll be replicating this feature.
 
2005-03-11 12:01:18 AM  
I agree with PerroLoco. I am planning an on-line store to go along with my retail one. It would really upset me if something like this pointed customers to my competion. Sure you can turn it off, but how smart is the average person on the net? I mean we have all heard the joke "Sir, your computer isn't broken but you do have to turn it on first." Honestly, if anyone out there really thinks people are going to hunt for the check box that enables or disables this function when they first install Google's tool bar... well, I have some Nigerian bank transfers I need your help with.
 
2005-03-11 12:01:38 AM  
bersl2:

bogey, bargirl24: The Google toolbar for Firefox is unofficial. I doubt they'll be replicating this feature.

That's OK by me, I only used the Google ToolBar with IE to block the stuff FireFox blocks for me without it...

/Likees teh Firefox
 
2005-03-11 12:01:40 AM  
How in hell do I explain to my customers why other people's websites -- potentially competitor's websites -- are just one click away from their own home page?

Explain it by saying that they installed the Google toolbar and turned on the feature that does that, and that if someone doesn't have the toolbar installed they won't see the links? Then maybe find a competitor's page that "links" to them.


Need I add that this author is full of crap?
 
2005-03-11 12:02:55 AM  
PerroLoco:
How in hell do I explain to my customers why other people's websites -- potentially competitor's websites -- are just one click away from their own home page?

You could explain to them that their server hasn't been altered, and that they have no control over how the end-users choose to view their content.
 
2005-03-11 12:02:57 AM  
trillian's wikipedia plugin does this to im's

i'd be for web authors or designers being able to tag their pages against this though
 
2005-03-11 12:04:17 AM  
[image from img95.exs.cx too old to be available]

NERDS!
 
2005-03-11 12:06:27 AM  
These people would likely soil themselves if they knew you could get local proxy servers that will rewrite html before it gets to your browser. I've used one for several years for filtering out ads independant of what browser I'm using.
 
2005-03-11 12:07:33 AM  
Sure you can turn it off, but how smart is the average person on the net? I mean we have all heard the joke "Sir, your computer isn't broken but you do have to turn it on first." Honestly, if anyone out there really thinks people are going to hunt for the check box that enables or disables this function when they first install Google's tool bar... well, I have some Nigerian bank transfers I need your help with.

Did everyone miss the bit how you have to actively turn it on every time you want to use it? "People have to choose to install the Google toolbar, and they have to click the button each and every time they want to see the links"? If you do that, you know what you're doing.


Web designers don't like it when you disable popups either. Does anyone here not block popups because it's not how the page was intended to be viewed? How many people here run adblocking software to block the banners on the pages? Probably not many... If the autolinks isn't legit, then neither of these technologies is either.
 
2005-03-11 12:08:18 AM  
Problem is, Google gets paid for these links.

These links detract from the ads already on the website - it is the equivalent of 'changing the commercials in a TV broadcast'. As such, the sites make less money over all - and if you think that you aren't costing a webpage money every tiem you view it, perhaps you need a refesher course on Teh IntarWeb.

/TANSTAAFL
 
2005-03-11 12:08:28 AM  
ZAZ:

Any neutral lawyers here who care to comment on this? If you believe Richard Stallman's interpretation of copyright law (I don't) this is an unauthorized creation of a derivative work. Visit a GPLed web site and the google code would become infected by the GPL.

If that were true, it'd apply to IE, too, as it changes the original HTML into a rendered page.
 
2005-03-11 12:08:51 AM  
riceguy7, do you know if that shirt is an offer?
 
2005-03-11 12:09:17 AM  
The main issue the author of the article had was that the toolbar was modifying the sites belonging to competors of Amazon, Google, etc. That is link-jacking, and it's "supposed" to be illegal.

But the way Google is implimenting is less of a threat than the legal questions that arise. If it becomes legal to modify competitor websites like this (not talking personal websites), what is to stop M$, Yahoo, and others who supply internet software to begin redirecting unsuspecting surfers to competitor websites?

Oh, and what about online shopping? If there is no law against 3rd-party software from changing commercial page links and controls on the client's browser, such technology could allow them to secretly change the destination of "Submit" buttons and other links, effectively hijacking not just a customer, but potentially the customers' personal data as well.

It is one thing to provide these "autolinks" within the Google toolbar, it is quite another to OVERRIDE the underlying code and links on a commercial website.
 
2005-03-11 12:10:29 AM  
then neither of these technologies is either
True, actually. Sure, it sucks, but if a website could 'block people who block popups', most of them would.

Why? You are costing them money by going to their site. They recoup this - and turn a profit, if they are good enough - by the ads on there.

By blocking the ads and viewing the content, you are, in effect, going into their house and eating their lunch.

Sure, ads suck, but as I posted, TANSTAAFL.
 
2005-03-11 12:12:35 AM  
Obviously I know how to explain what happened from a matter-of-fact standpoint; what I mean is, how in the world are my customers going to deal with this? You can't disable it with a metatag. It must be disabled on each and every downloaded and installed copy. Not gonna happen.

Hypothetical: I sell breast pumps. Google mistakenly auto-links the word PUMP on my site to a penis-pump enlarger. Or the word breast to a porn site. I know (hope) that there will be a dictionary of non-linkable words to avoid the very obvious issues, but that's not to say it couldn't happen.

I predict a class action if this ever makes it past beta. You fight your way to the top of the search rankings, and if a competitor is ranked higher than you, do their links appear on your page because it's more relevant? What kind of shiat is that? We spend money marketing ourselves in print and on TV driving customers to our website, and on page-fookin-one they find links leading off my site and into the arms of a competitor?

The only way around this is to use CSS to un-define the default A:HREF. Make it non-rollover, non-underline, essentially invisible in a paragraph of text. Then use another custom A:HREF for your "real" linkage. need to test the theory though; if they can overwrite my BODY tags they can certainly overwrite the default styles.
 
2005-03-11 12:14:14 AM  
do you know if that shirt is an offer?

God I hope so.
 
2005-03-11 12:15:19 AM  
This is phase 1.

It will become much more evil. Google is opening the door for some pretty crazy ad-serving. When Microsoft and Yahoo get going you won't know what the webpage intended to link and what is an ad. Smart Tags will come back and Microsoft will probably serve them straight through Internet Explorer. Webmasters are losing a bit of control on what happens to their pages.

At least let webmasters have an easy opt-out, Google. Big community, remember?
 
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