What does this have to do with nytimes.com? Well, nytimes.com has a similar feature that is specific to the nytimes.com website. Highlight some text and a small blurb containing a question mark will be displayed. Click on the "?" icon, and a popup window displays search results for the selected text. Unfortunately, the search results are focused on NYT (and partner) content. You have the option of performing a web-wide search, but defaults to a NYT "Reference Lookup" search.
The problem: Highlighting text on a nytimes.com article displays the "?" icon, but now deselects the highlighted text, thus preventing me from using my own search methods. When reading nytimes.com, I used to have a choice about which search I wanted to use; both the Firefox context menu and the NYT "?" icon were displayed. Today I noticed that this is no longer the case; nytimes.com has disabled the context menu in favor of its own revenue generating approach.
I find it both ironic and sad that NYT has decided to limit the newer and more relevant media format (nytimes.com) in order to raise money to support and older, less relevant format (tree-killing).
Keep in mind that I am not anti-NYT, and I know that Google is quickly becoming the new "evildoer that will end the world with its capitalist-track mind. I don't care if Google or NYT gets the revenue, I just want robust search results and don't want to be stuck in the middle of a revenue war.
While this isn't quite on the scale of the market wars between IE/Netscape, AMD/Intel, or Apple/Microsoft, will this form of "revenue redirection", as picked up by other web content generators, ultimately prevent Google from financing plans for world domination?