John Robb has been in an entirely appropriate lather about Google Toolbar modifying the pages the user is visiting without the consent of the page author. He’s been trying various approaches to verbalizing his discomfort. Today he stumbles on a real good one
I don’t think that Google clearly thought through its decision to move to Web page modification. If they succeed in nullifying the opposition to this, they will open the floodgates to Microsoft to rerelease its version of the concept.
Through modification of the browser, Microsoft could put this on 1,000 times the desktops Google could with its toolbar. Opposition to the concept is the only thing that is stopping Microsoft from doing it today.
It gets worse. The basis of this modification is search-based services. If Microsoft is able to put a basket of search-based services into every Web page most people view with a browser (“search in situ” vs. the site based model), Google could be in real trouble. It could quickly turn Google into Netscape, and I am sure Bill Gates knows this.
This is a bet the company decision.
Sound about right to me. There are days I think this industry is a memory less process.