Google has just rolled out a new plugin for Firefox and Internet Explorer known as Sidewiki. Though to use this plugin, you must install Google’s Toolbar. What is Sidewiki anyway and how will it be useful to you? I have tested this Sidewiki out, and I think it’s really interesting. For an example, if you visit a news article, a website, a poetry, an article about medical treatment, a blog, a personal story, and just about anything that you are captivated by, you can click on Google’s Toolbar’s Sidewiki button, then you’ll see a sidebar appears from the left of your browser (default setting), and this is where you can write a comment about the thing (i.e., news, blog, article, story, poetry, and so on) that you are captivated of. Unfortunately, you have to sign into your Google’s account before you can write any comment. Make sure you also read the Google’s Sidewiki policy, because if you failed to follow the policy, your Google’s account may get terminate; Google is enforcing this to help fight spams and junks.
Some blog owners think Sidewiki is a bad thing since blog owners like to see their blogs be active with comments, but blog visitors who are using Sidewiki will probably write their comments on Sidewiki instead. In my opinion, the blog owners who think this way are not thinking far enough. Sure, it’s important to have a blog that has abundance of comments right on the blog itself, but Sidewiki is not there to prevent a blog’s success, but instead Sidewiki could help spread the popularity of a blog to even a wider audience. Plus, whenever Sidewiki’s users visit such a blog, the comments of everyone on Sidewiki will always be there, and so the conversation has never been better. The people who are not using Sidewiki but are visiting such a blog will not be able to see Sidewiki’s comments, and so they will behave normally as they have been doing by commenting directly on such a blog. This means blog owners have never lost anything, but instead they will see their blogs gain popularity. My advice, instead of worrying how Sidewiki or any other plugin may affect a blog, blog owners should be more worry about creating useful, attractive, captivating, purposeful, and timeless contents.
Social news websites like Digg.com, Propeller.com, Fark.com, Newsvine.com, Nowpublic.com, and many others may fear for the very same reason as blog owners are feared about Sidewiki. Social news websites are depending on users’ generated comments as contents, otherwise their websites are just like any other traditional news websites that carry no social interaction (i.e., users’ comments). My advice for social news websites’ owners is basically the same advice that I give to blog owners. Though Google is a powerful machine as in machines since Google has its hand in numerous playgrounds such as advertising, browsers, search, e-books, images, wiki, social network, RSS, mobile, Operating System, and so many others that are not on the top of my head at this point in time; still, not everyone will be using Sidewiki, and the people who are using Sidewiki may mention about the social news websites that they have been visiting to their friends and anyone else that they knew — this means only more web traffic will arrive at those social news websites. Not a bad thing eh? Then again the comments that are on Sidewiki will always show up only to the corresponding web pages, and so the conversation has never been better — as conversation is dancing on a corresponding web page can only mean more web traffic.
I cannot know the future, and so I won’t be able to guess that Sidewiki will be a hit or a flub to the web users, but I like it. I think it will be a very useful plugin for anyone who loves to share insights on specific topics and subjects and favorite websites and favorite blogs and just about anything else that he or she has a love for. The people who are on the side of services should not be worried about Sidewiki, because Sidewiki is only a complement social tool that may drive even more web traffic to such services. The people who are running web services that have no comment feature may love Sidewiki since it allows social interaction among end users through comments. Will you Sidewiki? [Sidewiki - Toolbar Help]