There’ve been a couple of weeks to think about it, and the more I think about it, the more it seems obvious that Google has gone seriously off the rails with the new AutoLink feature of their toolbar. On this one, I’m lining up with Dave Winer, Rob Scoble, and Zeldman. Google has established a relationship of trust with many millions of people: they provide a good service and they make good money doing it, and that’s just fine. It seems so obvious that this move is not only evil but stupid; I keep hearing that MSN is pretty good these days, but Microsoft isn’t trustworthy, so I don’t go there. If I don’t trust Google either, all bets are off. Anyhow, this is a policy problem not a technical problem, so here’s a suggestion: perhaps our friends at Creative Commons could have a look and develop a professional legal opinion as to whether their licenses, like the one I use, are infringed by AutoLink (my non-professional opinion is that Google’s damn close to the edge). If not, perhaps they could create a variant license that clearly rules it out of order. Then Google stops, or we sue their ass. [Update: This was controversial; a lot of people disagreed, publicly and one-on-one. So I researched some more and wrote this; check it out.]

author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
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March 03, 2005
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