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Google Takes a (404) Page from OpenDNS’s Book

Big brouhaha this morning over the fact that Google’s Toolbar “hijacks” 404 error pages and displays their own promo instead. “Google is evil” – say some webmasters.

I don’t see it a big deal. 404 pages are not exactly masterfully designed pages anyway, in fact I’m not really supposed to see them at all.

By the way, it’s not such a new idea either: it’s the very foundation of OpenDNS‘s business model.

Update: Google’s Matt Cutts explains how 404 works.

Comments

  1. Yeah — I don’t think what Google is doing is surprising or a bad move. If they leave custom 404’s alone and only replace the default Apache 404 I think it does deliver a better experience to Internet users. And anyways, IE has done this forever with their “friendly HTTP errors” option.

    I support things that move the control of experience into the hands of users and this is at least somewhat pointing in that direction by moving the control from the webserver into the browser/toolbar.

    Plus, just like the things we do, I’m sure that Google will make this optional.

  2. Vicente Arancon says:

    I don’t think Google’s message could add any value to the users’ “experience”. What Google is doing is to capture its users, like Ipod has done and Sony has tried to do with its products, so they use only their site for everything. I do not agree with this practices and that is why I migrated from Google.

  3. OpenDNS doesn’t hijack 404 pages though, if a proper functional 404 reporting a 404 error is found that gets displayed regardless of file size, as far as I am aware. It’s always a good idea to create a content-rich 404 with lots of links and info pointing to useful resources on one’s site though to prevent any hijacking and to make sure visitors find what they’re after. You could perhaps even use the Landing Sites plugin to add contextual content based on the search or URL that hit the page.

    db

  4. The principle of this is kind of annoying and I can see how some people can be frustrated by this but personally I would prefer my 404 pages to have google information on them instead of the default browser message. As long as the 404 page loads very fast I don't mind…

  5. I don’t see it as that big of a deal, just a “bother” to say the least.

Trackbacks

  1. Mashable says:

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  2. Matt Cutts says:

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  4. […] pages is nothing new; domain registrar Network Solutions tried it (to much public outcry), while as Zoli’s blog points out, it’s basically the business model of […]

  5. […] webmaster, sin embargo, discrepan abiertamente. En primer lugar, no tienen demasiado claro de que Google respete las páginas personalizadas. Y, […]

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  8. […] newest version of the Toolbar handles 404 pages for users, because I see some people writing about it this morning. We tried to give a heads-up in a couple places. The Toolbar beta 5 announcement on […]

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