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Archive for March, 2005

It’s interesting how much controversy the new beta toolbar from Google has
stirred up. I still don’t get it. I hear all of the excuses but I don’t see anyone taking
credit for why Google even has a business opportunity here.

The web is all about usability and linking, that’s the beauty of it. To find out more
about a particular topic you’re reading you should only have to click a link to find
out more. Instead, developers have ignored the link creation part of page
development. They link people to other content on their own sites but rarely go
beyond this. Web developers have stopped thinking about the user.

Now Google, recognizing a huge opportunity, has come in and taken over where
the web developer left off. They are providing a simplified way for users to find
additional information on the topic they’re reading. Google is providing links to the
maps for address, to books for ISBN numbers, and to tracking data for tracking
numbers.

Now here’s where the problems begin. The web community can’t believe that
Google thinks it has the right to insert links in content that they don’t own. Well,
they aren’t really inserting the links without anyone’s knowledge. First the user
has to download the toolbar and second, they have to actively click on the
autolink button. The user is in complete control of the process. Google is only
provding the links that should have been included in the content all along. Yes
they are thinking about themselves but they are also thinking about their users.

As a web developer, I’m in the minority with my thinking on this. However, if this
is what it takes to get developers to think about users then so be it.

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