God bless Google. They try, ever so hard, to constantly innovate and provide people with a plethora of new things on the internet. That's why I can't bash them too much over their newest "product." Googs newest gift to the citizens of the internet, "Google Related", however is very, very bad for the internet.
For those of you who don't know, Google Related is basically a feature of the Google toolbar. If you have the toolbar installed, while surfing the internet Google will attempt to show you web content related to the page that you are currently on. This is done via a little pop-up window that appears on the bottom of the screen.
To an ordinary user, this would probably appear to be an excellent means of finding out new stuff. In fact, that is how Google envisions it:
"Almost every time I go online, I come across some new topic or item that I’d like to learn more about. Sometimes it’s as simple as the latest buzz on the new shop down the street. Other times it’s something more significant, like a counterpoint to an opinion piece I’m reading. While the answer can be just a simple search away, we wanted to find a way to get some of those answers to you even faster."
Ran Ben-Yair, a product manager with the Google Related team, writes in a blog post
Now, let's look at the reality of the internet. The internet is about money. Webmasters do not spend hundreds of hours developing websites just because they lack proper social skills. They do it because they lack proper social skills, AND they want to make money. When Webmasters place banners that are links to other sites onto their pages, 9 times out of 10 they are advertising links. You don't place banners advertising somebody else's website on your website for free. Always remember, the internet is about money.
What's even more discouraging, is the fact that
most some of these "related" sites that pop-up are on Google's own web properties (read youtube.) Obviously Google is being evil helpful in providing links to their related sites. However, in order to not use their monopoly as an advantage give the appearance of being controlling, they should certainly remove minimize the number of links to their own web properties. I must say again, the internet is about Money.
In addition to Google providing this "feature", which practically no webmaster would want, they do not allow you to opt out. Well my friends, lend me your ears, because I'm about to tell you how to disable Google's Related toolbar popup thing-a-ma-jig. This little tip comes as a gift from Mr. Harry Bailey. In order to disable it, simply add the following code to your CSS:
display: none !important;
You have now opted out of Google Related...for now.
Edit (8/26/11): I kinda arrogantly threw that bit of code up there without FULLY explaining how to implement it. You can either place the code into the head section of your page:
Or, you can place the code anywhere in your external CSS file.