Posts Tagged ‘google’

Google – taking over your browser one side at a time!

Website annotation has been around for sometime now with services such as shadows, TrailFire, and Dingo but haven’t really taken off…Enter Google with their edition of website annotation titled SideWiki!

So what is it all about?  Sidewiki allows any Google user to place comments on an entire page or even selected sections of a web page. These comments are listed in a retractable toolbar down the side of your browser. They have also included the option to embed images and videos into the comment however in my brief search I haven’t seen it done yet.

So how do they control things like spammers and flamers? The have used a ranking system where users can vote up or down on comments. Comments with more votes up directly affect that users ‘ranking’. Users with high ranking or reputation will be placed towards the top of the sidewiki hierarchy and low rating users will be stomped down to the bottom where no one will read them. In my opinion this sounds like an effective measure. Chris Doble talked about this concept in his recent post disscussing Kevin Rose’s suggestions for taking your site from one to one million users. Kevin suggested that giving users an “ego” to work on gives them an incentive to post good material and to get involved positively. Sidewiki has done that well because not only does one ‘flame’ take down that comments rating, it affects that users overall positioning on all other pages. This is a huge incentive to help other users and collaborate. Very Web 2.0 like.

So I took the liberty of giving SideWiki a go and had some pretty pleasing results. It’s not everywhere yet but found it in heavy use at TechCrunch and also at sites such as reddit. It seems to be currently used as a reviewing type system where users are saying, I use this website for this, it is good for this etc. I can see this being very useful if it is taken on by the wider public as a very, very helpful tool in research. Having short summaries and recommendations before you read an entire journal would be very beneficial to students and researchers in particular.

Overall it seems like a good thing, but like all web 2.0 tools you need people to come on board to get the ball rolling. The only strongly disappointing feature of Google SideWiki is…. it is bundled with Google toolbar (yes, the screen hogging, colourful pictures and auto-filling nightmare). Hence the reason why I am about to uninstall the add on and end my google SideWiki experience for now. Fingers are crossed that they will release a standalone add-on in the near future!

~Jamie

Google SideWiki being used with reddit