Smart Tag Proposal

Microsoft is starting to implement smart tags in their browser, which will annotate web pages that you view with links that they determine are appropriate.

Predictably, there has been something of an outcry over this.

***The Proposal

Make the control of smart tags inherit values similar to the way that CSS is handled, but make those tags specify the annotation server.

First, Allow the document to specify a smart tag server. The server would have to respond to smart tag requests (in SOAP or the like) and return the information to be displayed to the user. This is not just an opt out feature, the server declaration must be present to use the feature.

Additionally, allow the user to specify a smart tag server for either default use or as an override setting.

This would balance the needs of writers and readers on the web. As a writer, I could control which server annotates my material for the vast majority of cases. If a user goes to the trouble of overriding my choice, then that is their right. As a reader, I could subscribe to a smart tag service that provides targeted information. (For example, the slashdot feed, hg2g, dictionary, or a corporate server.)

I would pay for a well annotated valuable feed, especially the Hitchhikers feed.

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