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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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Google’s got a new toolbar version out and it’s got a lot of nice features. Of course, I’m a Mac guy at home so I can’t use any of them and a Firefox user at work so I can’t use it there either. It’s still nice because it gives some of my friends and co-workers the chance to do stuff that I can do in Firefox with some small effort (keywords and such) which aren’t really possible with Internet Explorer.

Of course, the Google haters are out in force. They blithely drop any context in an effort to smear Google. For example, Microsoft’s SmartTag was to be an OS-wide feature that was present unless a user turned it off or the site developer included a special tag in his page to disable it. Google’s AutoLink isn’t automatically on by default and can be turned off by clicking on the AutoLink button. A user has to actually download the toolbar and then they have to click on the AutoLink button to create the links to Google properties.

That makes a lot of difference in my mind since it’s akin to downloading a Firefox extension that manipulates site content. The user has to make quite a few decisions before it does its thing. Microsoft’s feature required quite a few decisions to make it stop.

[UPDATE (2/27/05): Winer’s kept up a pretty steady pace of complaining this week. Thankfully, someone’s posted an excellent entry defending Google and a similarly excellent reply to his response.]

[UPDATE (2/28/05): Someone went ahead and crafted a Javascript bookmarklet to transform content on in an absolutely hilarious manner. Bing!]

[UPDATE (3/4/05): Finally, some well-reasoned and moderate comment on the controversy over at Kuro5hin.]