Cast your mind back a few years, to the internet's troubled youth.
Back in 2001, when Microsoft had all but won the browser wars and Google was still just a search site, someone at Microsoft Towers had a bright idea for Internet Explorer, the company's web browser software.
"Let's make it easier to turn the web into something that's interlinked," they said.
" Let's give Internet Explorer the built-in cleverness to turn certain things on web pages, like street addresses or book titles, into links.
"That way, people can find links to directions from any web page with an address in it. We could apply this to all sorts of ideas."
The suggestion became a feature called Smart Tags, and it caused uproar.
The idea seemed innocuous enough, but people were outraged when they realised that Microsoft was in charge of how the Smart Tags worked.
It decided which terms should be automatically converted into links, and where they should link to.
There was a collective smelling of something fishy. The outcry was so strong, so determined, and so persistent that within weeks of proposing the idea, Microsoft ditched it. It was just too much hassle.
Last week, Google ( corporate slogan: "Don't Be Evil,") announced a new feature in its Toolbar software, an addon for Internet Explorer.
The new feature is called Autolink, and it provides built-in cleverness to turn certain things on web pages, like street addresses and book titles, into links. Sound familiar?
The reaction has been more uproar, but so far the feature has not been removed from Google Toolbar (which you can download from toolbar.google.com).
Why? Because this time round, the reaction isn't entirely negative.
When Microsoft created Smart Tags, there was universal condemnation.
It was almost impossible to find anyone not employed by Microsoft to say anything positive about the idea.
This time round, there are some crucial differences that make Autolink slightly less of a problem.
For starters, you have to install Autolink with the Toolbar. Smart Tags were built into the browser, which was built into the operating system, leaving you with no choice. Installing the Toolbar is something the user decides.
Secondly, Autolink can be switched off completely. And it doesn't operate all the time, either. Users have to deliberately click on a widget to create the automatic links in any web page they view.
Again, it comes down to choice.
But some critics have still voiced concerns about Google's control over what happens. Once you have enabled Autolink, the links it creates look very ordinary. There's nothing on the page to show you which links were created by its author, and which ones were added by Autolink.
Concerns voiced, there seems to be a general acceptance that Autolink offers some useful features; Google's track record for not being evil, and treating web users with a degree of respect, earns it their trust as well.
Elsewhere on Google, and less controversially, there's a new feature for finding information about movies.
Just type in the title of a film and Google will provide quick links about it at the top of the page.
There's also a new weather forecast service, but at the moment it only works for cities in the USA (try searching for "weather miami").