AutoLinks Options Expand

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-05-12 Print this article Print

In the newest release, Google has expanded the number of options for AutoLink, including another tie-in to its own services. Users already could choose among three online map providers—Google Maps, Mapquest and Yahoo Maps.
For book links, inserted when publication ISBNs appear on a page, Google now lets users select among, the default, as well as Barnes &,, the WorldCat library database and its own Froogle shopping-search site.
As far as links on the VINs for vehicles, Google added AutoCheck as an alternative to CarFax. To Danny Sullivan, the editor of Search Engine Watch, Googles tweaks to AutoLink focus on adding more user options while ignoring the concerns raised by Webmasters. During the height of the AutoLink controversy, Sullivan was among those urging Google to provide an official way for publishers to block AutoLink from inserting links on their Web pages. "In the end, the people who operate Web sites are users, and the people who operate Web sites fund Google," Sullivan said. "It would be nice if the people who operate sites were given some say in matter." As part of its AdSense advertising program, Google syndicates sponsored listings and other ads to Web publishers and shares a portion of the ad revenue. Google has argued that allowing Web sites to opt out of AutoLink would damage the user experience, Sullivan said. But site publishers already have taken steps to block AutoLink, such as inserting JavaScript into their sites code to disable AutoLink, he said. The forum site has posted code for blocking AutoLink. "People will disable it whether [Google] wants them to or not, and it would be a better user experience if Google allowed Webmasters to opt out," Sullivan said, noting that with an official opt-out process Google could explain why AutoLink isnt working on a particular page. Beyond AutoLink, the newest Google Toolbar update adds other new features. They include the ability to check spelling on Web-based forms and to translate words from English to other languages. Editors Note: This story was updated to insert a previously missing paragraph. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on enterprise search technology.

Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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