Wednesday, 23 February 2005

Google and capitalism run wild

by Ted Hoffman

The BBC has a piece about a new Google toolbar which provides automatic links to commercial websites like Amazon. Based on references made in the browsers current page, it will provide links to books, maps and local services.

Unbelievably, the angle the article takes is that this may be a dangerous example of abuse of power.

....some users are concerned that Google's dominant position in the search engine market place could mean it would be giving a competitive edge to firms like Amazon.
Heaven forbid! Dan Gillmor, founder of Grassroots Media has this to say:
(the tool was a)"bad idea, and an unfortunate move by a company that is looking to continue its hypergrowth".
Others thought it was unreasonable, and suggested a possible solution:
.... AutoLink would only be fair if websites had to sign up to allow the feature to work on their pages or if they received revenue for any "click through" to a commercial site.
Whatever next? Disney toys in Happy Meals? Quite how someone could be concerned about this completely innocuous alliance with Amazon is a mystery to me. Both companies are inexpensive, provide good service; and the market is full of alternatives. So what if they help each other continue to do well?

Amazon is widely used as a book reference site as well as a seller, lots of casual references to books made in blogs are accompanied with an Amazon link. This is much to their advantage, but they do it well and free of charge; if Google extends the concept to unlinked items, so much the better.

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