- The user must explicitly download the toolbar and turn on the feature.
- Since the user explicitly wants to do this, the user is choosing to augment the content of a given website.
- Since the user explicitly wants to do this, what people who are up in arms about this are saying is this: The user can only have the experience that I dictate when I put my content up on the web.
- Which means that people who have a problem with the toolbar should, in my humble, non-google official opinion, should simply remove their content from the web until #4 is truly possible, which I hope will never come to pass.
- Finally, Google is not advertising up your page with this technology, we're linking to maps and other useful knowledge. That isn't evil, and we do in fact care about this sort of thing. Remember that the users, your viewers, who turn this on -want- to be able to do this, explicitly. They are adults who turn on the feature knowing what they are doing.
So, in short: Grow up. When Microsoft introduced smart tags for IE, I thought that was unacceptable, as users had no choice. But even then I wasn't worried, because I used Linux and Mozilla, not IE and windows. You see, if you don't like it -don't use it- and add to your TOS on your site that users can't use it and surf your site at the same time, and , while you're at it, use robots.txt to block google's crawl. In for a penny, in for a pound, I say. There are other seach engines out there who do an okay job.
Please note that not everyone is as tedious about this, there are still some smart people left on the internet, it seems. Thank god for that.