Saturday, March 05, 2005

Google's AutoLink feature

When Google lauched the beta version of it's latest toolbar version, the Search Engine watch forums were buzzing, mostly with self-rightgeous indignation. What was all the fuss about? The new AutoLink feature. The language used to condemn AutoLink was strong, fairly uniquivocal and.. rather predictable! "Conspiracy!" cried one, "Orwellian" another. Big Brother was amongst us once again and Google was planning to take over the world (the plot for a new James Bond perhaps?).

So what's all the fuss really about? AutoLink is an "intelligent" way of providing related links to a searchers query results. Google provides different types of links to different types of results, for instance it may provide (road) maps to off-line businesses, such as hotels or restaurants.

But many marketers fear that the AutoLinks will drive potential customers away from their pages to competitor pages. As one put it: "Will Google pay us for these links, like it does with AdSense?" It doesn't sound likely, does it.

It's AdSense that provides the clue: AutoLink will be have to be fine tuned in such a way that it doesn't overlap with Google's advertising programs, or they will be shooting themselves in the foot and I can't see that happening.

Call me naive but for now I consider AutoLink as a benign way of providing searchers with extra information. I'm not alone in this opinion. Time will tell. Definitely "one to follow"...

As regards "Big Brother": Orwell would be turning in his grave once again, even though "1984" was his worst book...


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