This is a test of the Google Toolbar AutoLink System. This test is meant to calm down web designers who have become hysterical over the thought of their precious content being modified and displayed by your web browser — which is exactly what a web browser is supposed to do.
Now, install the silly toolbar, come back here, and find out for yourself.
My results: AutoLinks are visually different from regular links. Unless, of course, you just happened to have highlighted your links with the exact same soft blue color Google does. Which, naturally, they should have expected. You also get a large tooltip pop up when you hover over the links.
In the FireFox version, the linked ISBN was changed to look like an AutoLink, but the link itself was not altered in any way and my affiliate ID was passed to Amazon intact. The highlighting of the regular link must be a bug, because the same thing does not happen in Internet Explorer. In IE, already-linked ISBNs and addresses are not changed to AutoLinks.
I did this because the furor over the Google Toolbar had once again erupted on a mailing list I’m on. The two main complaints were that the Toolbar changes links you already have on your page and there is no way to tell the difference between links and AutoLinks. I was pretty sure neither of those were true, but it seemed like a good idea to try the silly thing before making any statements about it. I’m fairly certain I’m the first person on a mailing list to ever do that.
The next time someone starts going on about what the Google Toolbar does or does not do, please kindly direct them here. You might also suggest that they refrain from knocking something until such time as they have tried it.