Friday, February 25, 2005


I don't know whether you guys are keeping up on the latest target of bloggers' outrage (Blog Rage?). This time, it's an entity that usually gets tons of respect from the blogosphere -- Google.

Google has just released a new beta for its toolbar. What has bloggers (and many other web developers) up in arms is the bar's Autolink feature. Read about it on this page.

What Autolink does is automatically create links on a page where there are none. Great feature for users, right? Except it's messing with someone else's copyrighted content. This website here, Heroes from the Past, is my own house/poetry book/art gallery/phone book on the web. Google is now offering to 'help out' web surfers by turning my content into their adspace. I have no problem when my host (which is letting me put together this site absolutel free) packages ads around my content, such as you may see at the top of this page. But when you add links to my blogposts that are indistinguishable from the links that I have made myself, that's crossing a line.

So, for the moment, I've found a way to make it stop. The folks over at Searchguild have kindly written some Javascript that breaks Autolink for a page, and I've added the script to my template here.

I'm not sure how permanent this solution is, however. For one thing, the toolbar is still in Beta, and the Autolink feature is likely to be changed to combat this anti-autolink script. Secondly, I depend on Google in two ways -- hits through its search engine and hosting through its ownership of Blogger. If the company chooses to do so, it can easily detect the Javascript and either automatically remove anti-autolink pages from its search engine, or decide not to host me anymore.

We'll see where this goes. I don't think anything major is going to come of this, but maybe I should look into just in case.

1 comment:

Admiral Memo said...

They aren't EXACTLY indistinguishable. The way they're distinguished is by putting your mouse over them and seeing the little icon and text. However, I believe I agree with you that autolinking isn't very good for blogs. It may be good for other sites, but not blogs.