It wasn’t so long ago that Google was complaining about Internet Explorer 7’s search box will ship with Microsoft’s MSN Search as the default search engine. I, like most commentators, quickly scolded Google for being hypocritical since they enjoy default search engine status on the millions of Firefox downloads, let alone their marketing deal with Dell to ship computers with various Google products pre-installed.
Now it seems Google and Dell are taking things a step further by automatically re-directing users who misspell a URL to a Dell-branded page filled with Google ads. I’m late to the story here, but Danny Sullivan has an excellent summary and analysis of the
One unanswered question remains: does a user redirected to such a page receive a Google cookie? I’m growing increasingly concerned about whether it remains possible to stay off of Google’s radar even if you never directly use one of their products. It reminds me of those stories about how a brand new computer is infected with spyware within the first 20 minutes of being connected to the Internet. Are Google’s tracking cookies becoming equally inescapable?