Microsoft drops the Smart Tags feature in IE 6

Actually I wrote this entry about Chris Kaminski’s article last night before I saw the news that MS was dropping the feature.

A lot of ink has been spilled over the problems with this feature over the last three weeks so, I’ll just Mr. Kaminski’s list of reasonable demands:

  • Smart tags must be always invisible by default on any page retrieved from a web server (or pulled from the user’s cache). If Microsoft wants to offer a meta tag, they can offer one to make smart tags visible by default.
  • Smart tags should become visible only when the user issues a ‘show smart tags’ command, either by clicking a button, selecting a menu item or invoking a keyboard shortcut. Smart tags could also become visible when a user clicks or highlights a word for which they have a recognizer.
  • Smart tag actions should be labeled with the source company’s name or logo to show who is offering the user the functionality or information.
  • With default settings in place, smart tags should notify the user every time they contact an external server.
  • P3P support should be added to the technology to allow users to disallow any smart tags that attempt to track them.

If Microsoft plans to ever implement the feature again they must meet those requirements before I’ll find Smart Tags acceptable.

Microsoft does provide a tag for page authors to control smart tag behavior but unfortunately the default is to turn them off, not to turn them on. The tag is: < meta name="MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" content="TRUE" >

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