Tools

Google AutoLink and The New Google Toolbar

Google AutoLink and The New Google Toolbar

Last week, the world of search was somewhat shocked to learn that Google has included a feature on its newest toolbar, (Toolbar 3 Beta) that adds links to websites viewed when using the toolbar. Known as Auto-links, the tool will direct users to Google maps when a street address is noted and to Amazon.com when the ISBN number of a book is mentioned. It will also provide links to information on vehicle-history when their vehicle ID number is found on a site or forum (US only) and parcel delivery history when a tracking code is mentioned on a site.

Webmasters and search marketers are legitimately concerned about the prospect of a Google tool changing their websites. A prime example would be the second largest online bookseller, Barnes and Noble. If a web-user was to try to purchase a book from Barnes and Nobel while using the new toolbar, a link to rival Amazon.com would be added to the view’s version of the Barnes and Noble site as soon as the book’s ISBN appeared.

There are a growing number of webmasters and search marketers who believe the introduction of this version of an Auto-links feature is the precursor to even more insidious automated intrusions in content alteration by Google. These thoughts were well summed up in a blog entry from search-blogger Dave Winer.

Four or five years ago, Microsoft was forced to withdraw a similar feature known as Smart-Tags that was to be bundled into new versions of Internet Explorer after weeks of webmaster outrage and ridicule. Judging by recent comments such as “Google is to the Internet what Microsoft was to the PC”, the geniuses at Google are about to run into a similar wall of resentment from content creators.

Readers are invited to share their opinions with Google Labs

Jim Hedger is a senior editor for ISEDB.com. Also he is a writer, speaker and search engine marketing expert working for StepForth Search Engine Placement in Victoria BC. He has worked as an SEO for over 5 years and welcomes the opportunity to share his experience through interviews, articles and speaking engagements. Hedger can be reached at jimhedger@stepforth.com .