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BrowserWatch: Microsoft's Smart Tags: Changing the Nature of Hyperlinks?

Jun 11, 2001, 16:11 (83 Talkback[s])

Under a controversial new feature scheduled to be included in the upcoming Windows XP, Microsoft could insert live hyperlinks on your Web pages -- without the knowledge or participation of the Web page's designer:

Microsoft quietly included a feature called Internet Explorer Smart Tags in a beta version of the Windows XP operating system, which is set for release in October. Smart Tags is an insiduous technology: it will search Web pages for certain words or phrases and then insert links not intended by the creator of the Web page. For instance, Microsoft could tell Internet Explorer to search through a Web page on behalf of a client -- say, Ford Motor Company -- and automatically insert a link to MSN whenever Ford or a Ford brand name is found on a Web page. The original Web page on the Web server isn't changed; what's changed is how the page is rendered by Internet Explorer. And while Microsoft says that a Web-site designers can turn off Smart Tags on the server side, there's the fear that this overriding could be ignored by the browser without the knowledge of the Web-site designer.

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