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Sidewiki


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16 replies to this topic

#1 Randy

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 07:35 PM

So what does everybody think about Google's new little Sidewiki application?

I like the concept, as a communication vehicle that is somewhere between a blog with comments enabled and a service like Twitter where people can comment on all kinds of subjects at the drop of a hat. Talk about giving users control! Of course they are at the same time taking control away from the webmaster, in a big way. I didn't see any way a webmaster could opt out in my quick glance.

For a search engine, which after all is Google's main business, it's a stroke of genius!

Forgetting about the benefits for real users for a moment, can you imagine how they could use such real world, hopefully thoughtful, user contributions to help them in figuring out what a page is actually about and what said real people think of it?

And they get the double whammy. If Sidewiki gets heavily adopted not only do they folks to tacitly agree to let Google track their every movement on the web (they have to know the page you're on to activate the tool after all) but for those who are actually commenting you'd have to be logged into a Google account, so they could easily build a database of your likes, dislikes, etc, leading to easier and greater personalization in the search realm.

Pure genius to give folks something that is cool and brings them data they can't possibly get any other way.

What I hate is that it requires one to install Google's toolbar, and of course the constant tracking that's got to be happening for it to work.

What I find funny as hell is that none of these cool little tools seem to work with their own Chrome browser, even though they hype how much better and faster Chrome is than other browsers out there. hysterical.gif You'd think someone would make sure that one was supported in the very first release of everything they pump out!

#2 qwerty

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 10:18 PM

I don't have it, because I don't have the G toolbar, although apparently I can access it -- somebody linked to Danny's Sidewiki comment on that Seth Godin atrocity, and I was able to read it and even vote my approval.

Isn't this the sort of thing that Flock browser was supposed to be? And I recall a Firefox extension that let you post notes right onto a web page, which other people with the extension could then see.

But I guess since this is coming from Google, it has a better chance at catching on. I don't know. I still refuse to tweet.

#3 Jill

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 08:59 AM

All I can see is it being a reputation management nightmare.

Great for ORM firms, but not so great for everyone else who might get unfairly slammed with nasty comments by whomever.

BTW, there's a great SideWiki viewer tool at Digital Inspiration so you don't have to have the Gtoolbar to view them. I don't have it and don't want it, so this viewer is a godsend. They also have a bookmarklet.

Plus, you can set up rss feeds of certain pages and monitor any comments that way. I'm not sure of an easy way, but you can do it by editing this link:

http:// www.google.com/sidewiki/feeds/entries/webpage/http%3A%2F%2Fwww.example.com%2F/full

#4 hegu

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 11:32 AM

I don't like the thought of some spammers or overgelous competitors writing comments and they display along with my web site in search results?

I enjoyed many of Google products. But this one? If I want to see comments on my web site, I setup a guesbook or blog or some feedback system on my own site. If I don't want it, who gave google permission to display comments on my web site?

phew.gif ... sorry for the rant.

#5 russ

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 12:06 PM

QUOTE(hegu @ Sep 30 2009, 12:32 PM) View Post
I don't like the thought of some spammers or overgelous competitors writing comments and they display along with my web site in search results?

I enjoyed many of Google products. But this one? If I want to see comments on my web site, I setup a guesbook or blog or some feedback system on my own site. If I don't want it, who gave google permission to display comments on my web site?

phew.gif ... sorry for the rant.


Right on!

This is a similar issue with Google Wave and also the new rankings you can add when you are signed in to your Google Account. Combined with the Analytics data Google has access to.

More and more your position in the search results will not depend as much on things that are 100% under your control. They will depend on how people engage with your site and what they think about it.

Although this is pretty much what Jill has advocated all along, viewing SEO as very much integrated with the visitor experience. Yet again, SEO is dead - long live SEO!

#6 Terri Z

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 05:56 PM

QUOTE(Jill @ Sep 26 2009, 09:59 AM) View Post
All I can see is it being a reputation management nightmare.

Great for ORM firms, but not so great for everyone else who might get unfairly slammed with nasty comments by whomever.


Most of what I read about Sidewiki seems to hinge on the un-moderated comments/spam problem. Personally, I don't like it...way too open and way to intrusive to the webmaster/site owner.

QUOTE(Randy @ Sep 26 2009, 08:35 PM) View Post
I didn't see any way a webmaster could opt out in my quick glance.

From what I understand, having an SSL certificate installed on your website will block Sidewiki. It may be more complicated than that, but my site has a certificate and I verified that Sidewiki doesn't come up when you visit.

Peace,
Terri Z

#7 Jill

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 08:03 PM

QUOTE
Most of what I read about Sidewiki seems to hinge on the un-moderated comments/spam problem. Personally, I don't like it...way too open and way to intrusive to the webmaster/site owner.


Exactly! For those of us who spend lots of time moderating our sites it pretty much bites that anyone can just deface them and there's nothing we can do about it.

#8 Randy

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 12:33 AM

Really Terri Z? Does it require that everything be forced to the SSL side of things to shut down the sidewiki comments?

The reason I ask is that a browser shouldn't even be querying for an SSL cert if it's not a secure type of connection. But I can totally see why an https secure connection would thwart the sidewiki, since that's obviously going off to another, decidedly unsecure address.

I wonder if this means people will start forcing all traffic to the secure site instead of the other way around. lol.gif It would certainly be easy enough and cheap enough to do if you wanted to nip it off at the source.

#9 Terri Z

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 07:09 AM

QUOTE(Randy @ Oct 1 2009, 01:33 AM) View Post
Really Terri Z? Does it require that everything be forced to the SSL side of things to shut down the sidewiki comments?

I must have been asleep when I checked this out a couple days ago...because I clearly see the Sidewiki page on my site now! Sorry for the bad conclusion.

I should have known that was too easy to thwart Google! pr.gif

Edited by Terri Z, 01 October 2009 - 07:19 AM.


#10 Terri Z

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 07:54 AM

Here is a helpful tutorial on how to claim your Sidewiki as the website owner: www.vizioninteractive.com/how-to-claim-your-websites-google-sidewiki/

#11 Randy

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 02:48 PM

Great. So I have to verify each of my sites in WMT, then I have to install the evil Google Toolbar in a browser I actually use from time to time... lol.gif

Now the real question is if claiming your site will give you any special privileges to remove incorrect stuff other folks may type in there. And if so what is that process and how is Google going to decide who's telling the truth.

Man, why I do I already see more lawsuits against Google on the near horizon?

#12 hegu

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 05:59 PM

QUOTE(Randy @ Oct 1 2009, 04:48 PM) View Post
Man, why I do I already see more lawsuits against Google on the near horizon?


You bet Randy. Google is trying too much to prove its authority.

Google forcing users to install that damn buggy google bar which is closed source code. I installed it once but made my computer slow. So had to remove it from my computer.

#13 Terri Z

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 08:13 PM

QUOTE(Randy @ Oct 1 2009, 03:48 PM) View Post
Now the real question is if claiming your site will give you any special privileges to remove incorrect stuff other folks may type in there. And if so what is that process and how is Google going to decide who's telling the truth.

I'm no expert in this, but in the little digging around I've done...claiming your site only allows you to put in comments that go to the top. So you can crowd out the bad stuff to the bottom (plus voting I think pushes comments up/down.) Oh and you have to do it page-by-page. More joy.

I'm hoping that most people will hate the toolbar enough that not many will install it. May be wishful thinking! unsure.gif

#14 Randy

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 02:36 AM

See, that's where I think Google needs to run all of this past their legal folks again, before the get their ass nailed to the wall. They can say they're not responsible all they want, but when a court reviews the situation --eg not having the simple ability for a verified webmaster to remove content that appears as part of their own site even though it's hosted by Google-- said court might well latch on and not let go.

This same pretty black and white issue has shot down other such systems. Either the people running the system need to accept legal responsibility for fact checking and monitoring every comment any of their users make, thus not giving any control to webmasters and potentially keeping an unscrupulous webmaster from controlling the conversation; or if they expect to accept zero responsibility they need to give webmasters full authority to remove and and all comments, not to mention that Google would have to break their own privacy policy by agreeing to give up the personal info of whoever might what could be construed a slanderous, harmful and possibly untrue comment.

I just don't see much grey area in this one. It's definitely not first amendment even if it was limited to US based sites. And if one of their sidewiki users starts slandering someone or several someones folks are going to go after Google, not only because they have deep pockets but because they're the facilitator that allows the slanderous statements to be publicly posted so that the appear to be part of someone's page.

I can see it coming already. And to me it's surprising that Google Legal would allow it to happen, considering the very real risk.

#15 qwerty

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 09:54 AM

QUOTE
I just don't see much grey area in this one

I do, even though I don't like it. The sidewiki comments are being shown next to your site, not on it. It's not that different from opening a company's site and then opening the page containing reviews of that company on Yelp or SuperPages in another tab, except that they're both visible at the same time. I can even make them visible at the same time by dragging the Yelp tab to its own window. At that point, the only difference is that the sidewiki comments don't require extra steps to make them visible, although you do have to click the button on the toolbar to make it visible.

I think G is making a mistake in how they're promoting it, though. The video about sidewiki opens with the following text:
QUOTE
What if you could easily contribute to any webpage and help others?

Contributing to a page is editing it. What the sidewiki actually lets users do is contribute a comment about a page, not to it.

But even if Google's claim of what they're doing is similar to what you say they're doing, they're not really doing it. I'd call that a grey area.




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