Sunday, February 27, 2005

Google responds to AutoLink controversy

Blogger Dan Gillmor recently had lunch with Marissa Mayer, Google's director of consumer web products, to discuss the company's controversial "Autolink" feature in its new desktop toolbar. (I've discussed the actual feature in a past entry, if you need the backstory.) Google's sticking with a consistent excuse for now, that it's all in the end designed for the user's benefit. Mr. Gillmor has some interesting thoughts in the entry as well, reflecting the "Starbucks Syndrome" I was discussing in my own post on the subject - or as he puts it, "...the tendency of users to accept the default - to eat what's on the plate someone puts in front of them..." It goes back to an old argument that's been around as long as Microsoft has - whether the default setting of a piece of software influences the general user more than the number of options a piece of software offers. It's still a question no one has definitively answered.