Google Blogoscoped


[Open DNS Blog] Google turns the page... in a bad way

pacificdave [PersonRank 10]

Wednesday, May 23, 2007
16 years ago7,163 views

Pretty interesting write up. There's a thin line with breaking the user experience to make more money and holding true to what you stand for.

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Interesting that they write about it, 10 days after I posted about this ( Anyway, OpenDNS does almost the same thing, just that it's harder to disable it.

Mysterius [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

I've got a few qualms with their article:

1. First, their language is hyperbolic, as in "OMG, I'm so disappointed in Google! How could they?!?" I exaggerate, of course; they do so in a more mournful, serious-ish way, but the tone is there.
2. Secondly, their argument hinges on the claim that the software can't be removed, but that claim is later reduced to simply being "hard" to remove, not even close to impossible. This bridges the 1st and 3rd points.
3. Third, is it really *that* hard to remove? Sure, users who can't even reset their homepage will never remove it on their own, and such users may even represent the majority of users in RL (though that isn't my experience), but would such users even care? The explanation page gives very clear instructions, anyways, IMHO; OpenDNS's complaints basically boil down to the claim that the program's name is rather verbose, though I think they're stretching it when they say even techies wouldn't get it.
4. Finally, how much of the "blame" for this service should be attributed to Google, and how much to Dell? For example, while the explanation page is hosted at, and the search results are provided by Google, of course, Dell had their copyright on that explanation page, not Google. This doesn't mean Google's not responsible, but it does weaken the claim that this represents a fundamentally new approach for Google. After all, it wouldn't sound nearly as dramatic to hear about a cooperative project between Dell and Google that resembles other stuff Dell loads on new PCs, than to hear of Google abandoning their corporate ideals to create this project on their own.

In summary, I am intrigued and worried by OpenDNS's findings, but their presentation fails to convince me that their conclusion is unbiased, or that Google's actions are even unethical.

pacificdave [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

[put at-character here]Mysterius: I totally agree on your comments over the article. I especially agree that Google wouldn't abandon their corporate ideals to create such a project. We're both only speculating over the little information we do have on this but taking into account Google's history, I would put money on Dell having the most hands in the cookie jar. Then again the page "is" hosted on Google's servers.

[put at-character here]Ionut:

"OpenDNS does almost the same thing"

In regards to Google's redirect, yes it does but in regards to a UI focused more providing more accurate/useful (user experience) information for the user vice ad clicks it doesn't. I've used OpenDNS for a long while now and a "typo" brings you to a page that's as useful as viewing a normal Google search results page.


Being totally objective... In the end, spyware/adware is spyware/adware. If an outcome from a partnership goes bad then both share the blame. We all know the largest group of people who click on ads is the average user. The "average user" defined as email, MySpace, Google search, YouTube, PhotoBucket being their everyday page hits. Google and Dell knows this. The heat map provided by the article was old news for us but added to the effect of the article. The outcome here between Google/Dell sacrifices user experience for money. This is not an image Google wants as a company based on being "for the user" and trust.

Niraj Sanghvi [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

[put at-character here]Mysterius: I'm guessing their tone is due to annoyance that this behavior is breaking their tool's functionality and causing their users with this problem to complain. Implementing the proxy fix was likely non-trivial for them.

Martin Porcheron [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

IE7 (and 6) does this by default, but you get taken to MSN Search/Windows Live.

I really don't see the sudden uproar. It's much easier to click a link that says "Did you mean" then it is to click back onto the address bar and replace the mistake.

Don Danz [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #


We got new Dell 620 laptops at work a month ago (just before the chipset update...dang) and I noticed the "specialized" Dell/Google page. I didn't like it, did a quick search about the issue, used add/remove programs to take out a single program URL Assist or Search Assist, one of the two, can't remember because it was such a no-big-deal. Never seen the Dell/Google screen again.

mb [PersonRank 2]

16 years ago #

ive me a friggin break!

The Google redirector shows you Google ads if you type a keyword in the address bar.

I'm using OpenDNS, and if I type 'digital camera' in my address bar, I get a page full of Yahoo ads from Open DNS. What's the difference, except I can't disable the OpenDNS behavior like I can with Google's.

The Google redirector clearly states what they're doing when the user types a keyword in the address bar, while OpenDNS *does not* disclose that they've hijacked the user's session.

To quibble about the second use case, URL typos, is really disingenuous. OpenDNS and Google are doing the same thing – making cash from users entering the wrong thing in the address bar.

At least Google prominently discloses what they're doing and tells how to disable the feature, while OpenDNS is silent and makes it impossible to disable the feature.

Pretty hypocritical of OpenDNS to try to make it a scandal if Google does it, when that's the OpenDNS business model!

pacificdave [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

[put at-character here]mb: So was your internet connection pre-configured for you? Or did you choose to configure or "install" it yourself?

"I get a page full of Yahoo ads from Open DNS"

That's pretty weird because I get a search result page (Yahoo driven) on the left and ads in the right hand corner. Not a page full of ads.

bowlby4 [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

You choose to change your DNS settings to use OpenDNS.

It is not impossible as one commenter pointed out. You can easily turn off the typo correcting in the My Settings options on the OpenDNS page, just uncheck "Enable typo correction"

Andreas Bovens [PersonRank 3]

16 years ago #

Apparently, a specialized iGoogle page is also part of the deal. I could find iGoogle pages for:
- Dell:
- eMachines:
- Gateway:

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

I have to say if I'd suspect this to be Google/ Dell software, I'd look to remove it under software listed beginning with either "Dell...." or "Google...". "Browser Address Error Redirector" is a good self-explanatory name, but only *if* you read it in the first place. (Not that this makes it spyware, of course!)

Forum home


Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About


This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!