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SideWiki blows everyone’s minds

September 25, 2009

The other day, Google announced “SideWiki” a new feature of the Firefox and IE browsers (Chrome to come soon) that allows anyone to contribute comments about any webpage –including this one.

The EMA Blog also announced it.

Here’s a bit more detail. First of all, this is version two of Google’s attempt to add context to search, and I think that’s interesting.

If you’re old enough to remember the days before Google, then you remember the mayhem of search. Alta Vista, Yahoo, it didn’t matter, the results were truly erratic.

Until the cleanliness of Google. Both literally, it was a search engine that was clean that gave clean results. Looking for something, Google it.

This is from HowStuffWorks, describing how Google works:

  • The frequency and location of keywords within the Web page: If the keyword only appears once within the body of a page, it will receive a low score for that keyword.
  • How long the Web page has existed: People create new Web pages every day, and not all of them stick around for long. Google places more value on pages with an established history.
  • The number of other Web pages that link to the page in question: Google looks at how many Web pages link to a particular site to determine its relevance.

My link to them just increased their relevance for the search term “how Google works” because the link has the term. This site’s pagerank is then added to the ‘people’ who think HowStuffWorks has a good answer.

But we’re in new territory here. Thousands of opinions exist on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc, and Google can’t index all of those. So while google is still the most relevant, it might not be the most relevant result in my community.

Solution? Ask for comments.Something they’ve been doing for a while. The little symbols beside the word “Similar” offer people who are logged in the ability to type a comment, move the result up, and delete the result.

A google search for this site

A google search for this site

But as you can see, this is subtle, and not often picked up. Thus, the launch of SideWiki.

It’s a more in your face customer referring tool that offers sharability, portability, and helps to organize content with the help of people.

Will it spread? I don’t know. I think it will. I think people like to comment on the things they do online. And the ease of commenting means that this can catch on — we like easy, intuitive tools.

Obviously this impacts every brand. The community of people talking about your brand in the open using SideWiki is worth monitoring. For the people who don’t currently do a lot of commenting on blog posts, this is an awareness that comments are accepted.

Maybe even expected. Because that’s really the news. Google expects that you want to comments about every site out there. And maybe you don’t, but someone most-likely does.

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