One other bit of the AutoLink story that I'm working on now. Rumors that the person involved with Microsoft's Smart Tag program has done the same for Google are incorrect. Jeff Reynar does now works for Google, but the company says he was never involved with the AutoLink feature.
"He was hired into our New York office, and the toolbar team is in Mountain View," Marissa Mayer, Google's director of consumer web products, told me yesterday. Rayner's been involved in Google's local search efforts, she added. "He certainly hasn't been involved in the toolbar."
Sound odd to have Google commenting so freely about the activities of a particular employee, when they often don't? The reason is that Rayner's been surprised by the number of people who assumed he somehow championed the AutoLink feature at Google and wanted to get the correct story out, so he asked Google to spread the word to those who followed-up about any connection.