Google’s Sidewiki is finally in full effect and it’s potentially one of the coolest tools to come from the Google team this year. For those that may not know what I am talking about, here is a short introduction:
“Google Sidewiki allows you to contribute helpful information next to any webpage. Google Sidewiki appears as a browser sidebar, where you can read and write entries along the side of the page”.
Basically, this is an easy way that visitors to a site can share their insights with other visitors about a page on the web. In addition, it has been stated that Google’s goal – through SideWiki – is to be something more than another commenting system. “I think we would have failed if people were using it to say ‘Obama sucks’,” said Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google.
Cool Google SideWiki features include:
- Sidewiki allows brands to leave special Sidewiki entries on their own pages – entries that are distinguished by a green background.
- People can add useful links to other pages or related sites.
- You can highlight and comment on a specific line/paragraph on a webpage.
- To determine what comments are shown and in what order, Google uses the ‘secret sauce time’ algorithm: “All comments are not created equal. Using multiple signals based on the quality of the entry, what we know about the author, and user-contributed signals such as voting and flagging, we work hard to ensure that only the highest quality, most relevant entries appear in the sidebar. Most of the engineering work for Sidewiki was dedicated to this ranking algorithm”.
As cool as Google SideWiki may sound, many website proprietors have cited it as a scary tool because of the ability for people to visit your web pages and leave messages whether you want them to or not.
If you own a website then I’m sure you must be asking yourself this question: “Have you lost control of your own website?”
According to Search Engine Land, there have already been several instances of rude, insulting comments being left on the pages of major corporations. Search Engine Land responds to this by outlining that:
There are some raised eyebrows over whether Sidewiki is even legal and Google has to show some concern over spammers, flamers and so on.
I guess spam / negative comment cannot be avoided but the good news according to Google is that, “there is a ban process that allows people to complain about content”.
In my view Google SideWiki is a revolutionary tool allowing people to add insights or “Verbal Graffiti” on web pages for others to read and benefit from. I urge everyone to try this tool as it builds on your Google Profile and adds value to web page content through your contributions. You can read more on the Google Sidewiki here.
Look out for my next post on Google Sidewiki’s influence on SEO ..