Google has launched Sidewiki, a tool that appears as a browser sidebar where anyone can share their insights on any web page.
Sidewiki, part of the Google Toolbar, can be activated on any website and users are allowed to leave comments about websites. Currently available for Firefox and Internet Explorer, it will soon be a feature of Google Chrome, its own Web browser.
The messages are then visible to other users of Sidewiki who visit the site and they can post their own comments, although they cannot edit the comments of others.
Google’s own blog posted examples including comments from Michael Roizen, a physician from the Cleveland Clinic, on heart disease at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, and Robert Reid, the Travel Editor of Lonely Planet commenting on visits to museums in New York City.
Rather than the most recent comments however, Google will rank the most useful entries, taking into account feedback and previous entries from authors.
Google, in the blog post, wrote that Sidewiki was a way for users of the web to contribute “insights” and “helpful information” to any page.
Technology bloggers were divided in their opinion for Sidewiki. Ars Technica said while “intriguing”, it was “unclear if the service will really deliver a lot of value. After surging around the Internet with it for a short while and looking at the annotations that have already been posted on popular websites, I have yet to see any that are really useful or substantive. It appears as though most users don’t even really know what to post yet.”
PaidContent.org said it “may anger some online publishers who have commenting systems of their own that they’d prefer visitors continue to use.”
Jeff Jarvis, an American technology commentator and author of What Would Googld Do?, said he saw “danger” because Sidewiki “takes comments away from my blod and puts them on Google. That sets up Google in channel conflict vs me. It robs my site of much of its value”.
Content courtesy of The Telegraph