Google Sidewiki. Awesome.

I just read about Google's Sidewiki and after watching the short demo video, I think this is awesome. Many other services have come along to try to do this, including some firefox extensions but with Google's huge userbase, I think this will be the winner. yeah I can see comments about a website on StumbleUpon, but thats only a handful of people, really, and from those people only a few take the time to actually leave something useful on a site.

In short, Google Sidewiki allows you to enhance, or add useful information to *any* webpage. Check out the video:

I see one downside to this, as a blogger. Does it now mean that people will leave comments and feedback in google sidewiki instead of in my own comment system? Maybe its our job as bloggers to comment back in the sidewiki and encourage in-blog discussions for others --without google sidewiki-- to see and participate.

Yeay! I love technology, and think about what this will do for Social Media.

8 Comments

  1. The positive thing about wiki technology is that it’s tweakable by any user. If anything, I would imagine that sites would require more up-keep than ever before, to ensure that blog entries aren’t being spammed by third parties. (Which is still the case with most blogs anyway, right?)

  2. Hi Adam, you’re right, wiki technology is as you describe, but the Google sidewiki isn’t as easy to spam as you might think. You won’t necesarily be able to “wiki edit” my note for example, you’ll be able to see my note and be done with it, or leave your own. Much like a commenting system. Give it a try, install it and then come back to this page, you’ll see my note on it on the side, you’ll also notice that you have to have a Google profile to use it so it should be difficult to spam.

  3. Hi Adam, you’re right, wiki technology is as you describe, but the Google sidewiki isn’t as easy to spam as you might think. You won’t necesarily be able to “wiki edit” my note for example, you’ll be able to see my note and be done with it, or leave your own. Much like a commenting system. Give it a try, install it and then come back to this page, you’ll see my note on it on the side, you’ll also notice that you have to have a Google profile to use it so it should be difficult to spam.

  4. The positive thing about wiki technology is that it’s tweakable by any user. If anything, I would imagine that sites would require more up-keep than ever before, to ensure that blog entries aren’t being spammed by third parties. (Which is still the case with most blogs anyway, right?)

  5. Cool. Sure, they’re not the first to offer this service (cannot remember the names of others I’ve seen), but you’re right maybe Google can pull it off with their big name. Seems like it would spawn a whole new layer of good and bad information, that itself may need filtering, moderation, feedback, positive/negative ratings to be useful.

    And really, “expert insight on important issues”? Do you really expect to find more expert information on a CDC site via sidewiki notes than on the site itself, or in the comments section on that site? Without a ratings system, how do you filter the good from the bad?

    I agree with your concern as a blogger how it changes how you manage your site. Or consider how webmd.com would feel about people posting (mis)information up with their own content. Or any commercial site, with a competitor’s negative feedback.

    And, let’s take a step back, why fork the information base in the first place? Information belongs on the site where it’s located, not only available as a bonus to a few participants. The basics, like an existing comment system built into the site should be used first. Email to the author second, and so on, and sidewiki notes should only be a last resort if there’s no other way to get improvements/corrections into the source material.

    Yeah, I guess it just seems like a wrong approach to me. It’s a cool idea, but information belongs at the source, instead of this augmented reality that only a relatively few will see. It’s wrong, but of course… I just might end up liking it and using it too.

  6. Cool. Sure, they’re not the first to offer this service (cannot remember the names of others I’ve seen), but you’re right maybe Google can pull it off with their big name. Seems like it would spawn a whole new layer of good and bad information, that itself may need filtering, moderation, feedback, positive/negative ratings to be useful.

    And really, “expert insight on important issues”? Do you really expect to find more expert information on a CDC site via sidewiki notes than on the site itself, or in the comments section on that site? Without a ratings system, how do you filter the good from the bad?

    I agree with your concern as a blogger how it changes how you manage your site. Or consider how webmd.com would feel about people posting (mis)information up with their own content. Or any commercial site, with a competitor’s negative feedback.

    And, let’s take a step back, why fork the information base in the first place? Information belongs on the site where it’s located, not only available as a bonus to a few participants. The basics, like an existing comment system built into the site should be used first. Email to the author second, and so on, and sidewiki notes should only be a last resort if there’s no other way to get improvements/corrections into the source material.

    Yeah, I guess it just seems like a wrong approach to me. It’s a cool idea, but information belongs at the source, instead of this augmented reality that only a relatively few will see. It’s wrong, but of course… I just might end up liking it and using it too.

  7. @steve. You bring up some interesting points of discussion, I’ll quickly touch on a few but I think some deserve a lenghtier post than I should do in a comment.
    re: new layer of info. Sure it certainly will and I don’t know how the big G plans if anything on filtering this stuff. I do’nt think moderation is an issue since the comments would most likely be moderated by discussion rather than approval/denial.

    re: expert insight. Sure I do expect to find useful information. The example you give CDC is a prime example of this. The CDC by definition has a lot of power and weight, who is keeping them in check for accuracies? How can you know that a piece of information in their site is accurate. You and I know how websites are run, a person, or maybe a few people edit it and work hard at making things sound the way they want it, and not necesarily 100% accurate, they have their agenda. This gives them one more reason to be accurate, truthful and relevant… otherwise someone will call them on it.

    re: how would a commercial site or webmd feel about (mis)information, or negative feedback. Well this is the time for those entities to jump in the bandwagon and make value out of this tool. Negative feedback? Address it, immediately, at the source, why try to control it when control of information is virtually non-existent. I could as well post (mis)information about the company here on my own site… They should be thankful that it is actually posted on their site –even if its on a channel that they can’t control– Competitor’s negative feedback? Well if its true, address it, otherwise they’re making themselves vulnerable to the same thing. The playing field is level.

    Existing comment systems are great, but many companies censor the comments, or require lengthy intrusive registrations that deter comments. And e-mailing the author takes way too much time, and in my experience hardly ever gets a response. If you put the comment in an open forum, where the author can’t squash it, then he must respond. I think this is much more progressive and effective.

    I think this deserves a new post though. Hopefully in a day or two.

  8. @steve. You bring up some interesting points of discussion, I’ll quickly touch on a few but I think some deserve a lenghtier post than I should do in a comment.
    re: new layer of info. Sure it certainly will and I don’t know how the big G plans if anything on filtering this stuff. I do’nt think moderation is an issue since the comments would most likely be moderated by discussion rather than approval/denial.

    re: expert insight. Sure I do expect to find useful information. The example you give CDC is a prime example of this. The CDC by definition has a lot of power and weight, who is keeping them in check for accuracies? How can you know that a piece of information in their site is accurate. You and I know how websites are run, a person, or maybe a few people edit it and work hard at making things sound the way they want it, and not necesarily 100% accurate, they have their agenda. This gives them one more reason to be accurate, truthful and relevant… otherwise someone will call them on it.

    re: how would a commercial site or webmd feel about (mis)information, or negative feedback. Well this is the time for those entities to jump in the bandwagon and make value out of this tool. Negative feedback? Address it, immediately, at the source, why try to control it when control of information is virtually non-existent. I could as well post (mis)information about the company here on my own site… They should be thankful that it is actually posted on their site –even if its on a channel that they can’t control– Competitor’s negative feedback? Well if its true, address it, otherwise they’re making themselves vulnerable to the same thing. The playing field is level.

    Existing comment systems are great, but many companies censor the comments, or require lengthy intrusive registrations that deter comments. And e-mailing the author takes way too much time, and in my experience hardly ever gets a response. If you put the comment in an open forum, where the author can’t squash it, then he must respond. I think this is much more progressive and effective.

    I think this deserves a new post though. Hopefully in a day or two.

Comments are closed.