Google SideWiki: Progress or Problem?

Today comes news that Google is offering a universal commenting feature that allows anyone using Google’s toolbar to leave a comment on any page they visit. Called Sidewiki, the service is intended to “increase engagement on the page” for publishers. But as much as I love the idea of SideWiki, I’m skeptical of it for one simple reason: Google isn’t in the community business, and SideWiki, if it’s going to work, needs to either A/be driven by communities or B/Needs to be embraced as a standard by publishers, who are the proxy for communities.

Sidewiki may anger some online publishers who have commenting systems of their own that they’d prefer visitors continue to use. Google is walking a fine line in its efforts to innovate in some areas that have long been the domain of traditional publishers, while not alienating them. Just last week, it introduced Google Fast Flip, a new user interface for online content that lets readers browse through web pages faster. It was widely seen as an effort to collaborate with publishers in order to upgrade the experience of reading news online.

Sengupta tells us that Sidewiki is “complimentary” since it provides additional features. The system, for instance, takes into account the “quality” of a comment in ranking it, which it determines based on how many people have voted that they like it, as well as how much the commenter has used Sidewiki in the past and the language he or she uses. (An ALL CAPS comment isn’t likely to show up at the top—if at all.) Comments can also be added to specific phrases on a site and show up when those same phrases are used elsewhere on the web. And because a commenter’s user name links back to their Google profile page, Sengupta says it’s more likely that comments on Sidewiki will be of higher quality. “It elevates the discussion,” he says. “People stop making trivial comments when it ties back to them.”

Now, Google is an advertising services business, and one could argue that it’s in the business of publishing as well (YouTube, Blogger, Knol). However, the company is not that great at leading community.  Suffice to say, I think SideWiki will suffer from the same fate as Google’s previous efforts requiring community input: Google is not seen as a explicit community platform.

I sort of wish Yahoo would do stuff like this. This is the kind of product Yahoo could really win with.

About The Author

Jamie is a co-founder and senior editor at Technigrated, covering all facets of the tech industry. In addition to working at Technigrated, Jamie is a Founding Partner of NBR Design Studio, a graphic and web design and hosting firm headquartered in Bethany Beach, DE.

1 Comment

  1. A long time thinking over the question of monetization of social networks, and this is what came into my head …

    And what if the share part of advertising money from users. And to do it this way:

    Create an advertising area where the ads will vary in an arbitrary time will run the applet in the form of a slot machine to which need to click myshkoy, those clicks will process server and distribute the gains among those who have something Goco match (this is for example, can be and what else game algorithm lay). The point I think is understandable.

    I would like to hear people's opinions ..

    Цены, Элитная. Недвижимость Испании

    Reply

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