[WEB4LIB] Google AutoLink funnels users to Amazon

Leo Robert Klein leo at leoklein.com
Wed Feb 23 12:45:53 EST 2005

On Wed, February 23, 2005 9:47 am, Thomas Dowling said:
> The beta version of Google Toolbar 3
> (<http://toolbar.google.com/T3/index> - still IE-only) includes a
> feature called AutoLink.  AutoLink scans pages for addresses and offers
> a link in the toolbar to Google Maps.  It also looks for Vehicle ID
> numbers and shipping numbers from the USPS, UPS, et al.  It also looks
> for ISBNs and provides what appears to be a hardwired link to
> Amazon.com, labelled "Show Book Info".
> So in your catalog, OpenURL resolver, A&I databases, online syllabi,
> etc.(also, of course, book pages at barnesandnoble.com and other book
> retailers) -- wherever there's an ISBN, the toolbar will prominently
> offer to escort users away from your pages and over to Amazon.

Yeah, when I read about this on Slashdot, I thought, oh no, here we go again.

Part of Google's motto is "Do No Harm" yet I really wonder what the
implications are when other companies start doing this as well -- I mean,
configuring a toolbar isn't all that hard if you've got a mind to do it.
Also, what about the recent agreement between Google and a number of our
academic/research libraries?  Will things be added there as well?

As providers of content these are important questions for us -- no matter
who the company is or how voluntary (yeah, right) the participation is.


-- -------------
Leo Robert Klein

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