Subject: Re: MSIE "Smart Tags" -- what's the real deal?
From: Ian Lance Taylor <ian@airs.com>
Date: 12 Jun 2001 12:08:46 -0700

Don Marti <dmarti@zgp.org> writes:

> begin Ian Lance Taylor quotation of Tue, Jun 12, 2001 at 11:36:58AM -0700:
> 
> > Well, yes.  Why is that bad?  My personal web pages says what I
> > personally want them to say.  They are intended to convey a particular
> > set of information when viewed by a web browser.  It's OK with me if
> > somebody uses a third party annotation service when it is clear that
> > that is what they are doing.  It is not OK with me if the web browser
> > itself changes the presentation.  It breaks the implied contract I was
> > expecting when I created the web pages.  It makes me say something
> > other than what I intended.
> 
> AFAIK, users will be able to tell Smart Tags from links in the original
> HTML.  So it will be clear that they're done by the browser, and are
> not part of your original.

I can believe that it will be clear to sophisticated computer users
that browser-inserted links will be different from author-inserted
links.

However, having watched my non-sophisticated relatives using browsers,
I strongly doubt it will be clear to them which links come from where.

> > I've wanted a good annotation service for a long time.  Based on what
> > I have read, Microsoft is providing a bad one.  That is not a step
> > forward.
> 
> Then it's something to be better than.  Major opportunity for free 
> software.

It's not a new opportunity.  I've written before what I think a good
annotation service would look like.  The annotations should be
associated with a particular web page.  There should be a way for
different people to share annotations, using annotation servers or
P2P.  The annotations should appear in a separate window or frame.
Annotations should be securely owned by a particular author.  It
should be possible to emphasize, or hide, particular annotation
authors.

In fact, the smart tags discussion on Slashdot mentioned a company
called Third Voice, now out of business, which had apparently
implemented something interesting along these lines.  However, they
tried to make money by advertising, which as we all now know is quite
difficult.

Ian