GOOGLE COPYING MICROSOFT... BUT CAN THEY GET AWAY WITH IT?
Older but important article. Microsoft got some backlash a while back when they tried to do the same thing that Google is doing now:
Google toolbar move raises online ire
By Stefanie Olsen
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
February 18, 2005
Google's browser toolbar is raising eyebrows over a feature that inserts new hyperlinks in Web pages, giving the Internet search provider a powerful tool to funnel traffic to destinations of its choice.
When Web surfers install the toolbar in their Microsoft Internet Explorer Web browser and click the AutoLink button, Web pages with street addresses suddenly sprout links to Google's map service by default. Book publishers' ISBN numbers trigger links to Amazon.com, potentially luring shoppers away from competing book sellers such as BarnesandNoble.com. Vehicle ID licenses spawn links to Carfax.com, while package tracking numbers connect automatically to shippers' Web sites.
"Google shouldn't get away with what Microsoft was unable to." --Steve Rubel, blogger, Micropersuasion
Google, the world's most widely used search engine, denied that the AutoLink feature is an attempt to control which destinations Web surfers visit. People can already choose between several map services, including Yahoo and MapQuest, and choices for book retailers may be added in the future, a company representative said on Friday. (full article)