Google's Toolbar & Rewriting

by Steve Mallett

I dislike the idea of Google's Toolbar "changing" anything on a web page.

While I dislike it I'm not going to call for ban or anything. Do what you want.

There only appears to be one person actively supporting it in my blog bubble. Cory. There are certainly a lot of good things that can be done with it. Like most things; however, this won't be the case.

On the idea of the browser "changing" stuff: Imagine Google's Toolbar swapping out BoingBoing's ads with ads of their own. I've seen more than once the BB bloggers complain about their hosting costs, and what a pittance is left over. Hey, that's cool. No beef. But, wait until someone appropriates your revenue for their own in form of a Toolbar virus, spyware, adware, doo-hickey.

Everyone has something they definitely won't want changed (like mailto tages - no Google Toolbar doesn't do this) and that's really the point of objection for me.

Mind you, in a week I'll have totally forgotten about this & will probably never think of it again since no one is really going to use this anyway in any meaningful numbers. Too much work.


2005-03-02 16:05:19
Just so we're clear.
Google's Toolbar does -not- replace ads. It does stop pop-up ads though, but not on boing boing, as I don't think they use em :-)
2005-03-03 09:10:16
As long as it's up to the user...
It doesn't matter what kind of capabilities Google Toolbar adds for modifying page content, as long as the choice for what is modified is left to the individual. I haven't installed the Toolbar but my understanding is you lick a toolbar button on every page you want it to do its thing. Even if they added ad replacement, it would only be replaced *after* it had already been diplayed. Anyway, it's quite a leap to go from adding links on ISBN numbers to swapping out one ad for another.

AdBlock, which is already widely used, does a lot more to alter page content than Google Toolbar does. I think if everyone blocked ads it would lead to a worse Internet experience for most people. I don't use AdBlock, I'm ok with using the ad supported business model but I do ban image servers when they use seizure-inducing animated gifs and I do use FlashBlock so I can selectively load Flash objects. I feel Flash ads have crossed a line in their distraction level and intrusiveness.