Stephen’s Statements A little bit of everything from Stephen Duncan Jr, a Software Developer in Portland, Oregon

Monday, February 28, 2005

Auto-Link Fuss

Scoble says AutoLink is evil. For the record, I fully accept that this is Scoble's heart-felt opinion on right and wrong for the web. I just think he's misguided.

How different is this than the right-click functionality in Firefox ("Web Search for..."), or other extensions. For instance, a Map extension that lets you highlight an address, right-click and search for it in your choice of map program?

I see two differences. The first, is the availability of options. The MapIt extension let's you pick your map provider. I see this argument. But that's an argument about monopoly and a specific implementation of this feature by Google. That's not argument about an inherently evil feature.

The other problem is if the functionality blurs the line between client-created links and content-producer provided links. That's where Scoble's problems seem to come in. Scoble feels that this features "changes" his content, and modifies his editorial stance by creating new links he didn't put it. But I only see this as a problem if the difference between Google-created links and Scoble-produced links aren't obvious to the user. So again, this isn't about an inherently evil feature, but a problem with the specific implementation from Google.