Google Sidewiki has been launched. As per most things Google it is simple and painless to install and is free to use. All you need to do is download and install Google Toolbar with Sidewiki and then it is simple to add and read comments on every Web Page.
What is Sidewiki
Sidewiki shows comments by others about the Web Page you are viewing. It is also very quick and simple to add a comment yourself. Say for example I am reading a page about ‘Management by Objectives’, I can add a quick comment of my own or can read what others have said about that particular page. Google ranks comments in Sidewiki according to their own mystical algorithm as to where they appear in the hierarchy of comments. Sidewiki effectively adds Web 2.0 very simply to every Web Page.
The Good of Sidewiki
If I were Digg, Propeller or one of the many other sharing sites I’d be very worried about Sidewiki. Sidewiki makes commenting on Pages much more simple in that the commenter no longer has to go to a third party site (such as Digg) to comment. The comments are also shown in a relevance order by Google in Sidewiki which beats the time-sorted comments of the social media sites. Google has always been good at making the Web faster and Sidewiki makes commenting much quicker.
The Bad of Sidewiki
No voting. Sometimes, instead of commenting, one wants to vote (either for or against) a Web Page (yes, I’m aware that voting is generally manipulated and is not representative). Sidewiki doesn’t have a voting mechanism but hopefully this is not too far off. Also, it would be nice to be able to search within the comments for a particular page.
The possibilities are absolutely huge. First and foremost Google is attaining vast additional information about each Web Page through comments. No longer is a Web Page just the information provided by the author but now the Page is about the static content and the comments combined (blogs are good for comments however comments are often moderated as opposed to Sitewiki which are not moderated). Google will be far more able to understand what a Page is really about which will enhance their search capabilities.
Google Twitter (microblog): Sidewiki, once searchable, and advanced could very easily become a Google version of Twitter. Google has been moving towards real time indexing for a long time and Sidewiki provides a giant leap towards this possibility. Add in the ability for commenters to interact in a Twitter like fashion then Google has a real Twitter competitor.
Sidewiki is a winner and deserves to do very well.