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Google SideWiki

© October 2009 Anthony Lawrence

Google's SideWiki is part of the latest Google Toolbar (Firefox and IE). It lets you annotate web pages you visit. That's been tried before, and never has caught fire, but it's possible that the Google Toolbar is ubiquitous enough to make this become popular.

However, it needs work. There's no notification or tracking. If you leave a SideWiki comment on this page, I'll never know about it unless I happen to come back here. If I do come back, and respond to your comment with my own SideWiki entry, you'll never know unless you happen to return here.

There's no text formatting - not even bold or italic. It will create links if you use https://someaddress , and will at least let you create new paragraphs (don't laugh: the Google Friend Connect comment gadget did not!), but that's about it. Oh, and you can also drop a YouTube link into a comment, and a video embed frame will be created.

I was wrong - you CAN use simple html tags!

I also wonder how Google intends to deal with Spam. They claim they will rank and filter comments for "quality" and by a commenter's reputation. We'll see.

There's a list of bugs and feature requests at Google Code. You can vote for this one by clicking the "star" just below "Add a comment" at https://code.google.com/p/gdata-issues/issues/detail?id=1493.

Discussion at Google Sidewiki API.

Got something to add? Send me email.

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Fri Oct 2 16:42:04 2009: 7047   TonyLawrence

I made two SW comments on this page. One as the "Site Owner" (Google knows these are my pages) and one referencing a bock of text I highlighted before pulling down the SideWiki tool.

If yiu have SW in your browser, you'll know I made those comments. Otherwise, no.

Fri Oct 2 19:13:40 2009: 7052   MikeHostetler

My day job decided that Delicious is a dangerous site and block it with their Firewall of Doom (why? who knows?). So I moved my bookmarks to Magnolia, which crashed hard last year, so now I'm using Diigo, which has similar functionality as to this Google SideWiki -- you can make annotations as well as send links to Twitter, have groups, etc. Oh, and make bookmarks which is why I use it in the first place.

I made my first "sticky note" on this page. The annotation shows up my bookmark page *and* probably on my feed:

And . . . I can share my annotation with everyone:

Mon Oct 26 17:22:35 2009: 7352   TonyLawrence

This is Greg from the Sidewiki team at Google - We want to make sure
you know that your concerns and feedback are being heard and
addressed. We are currently adding documentation and robust support
for retrieving all entries for a given page through the API
(currently, it only returns entries above a certain quality threshold,
so that set of entries may change over time). Please stay tuned for an
upcoming announcement when these changes are live.

-Greg Hochmuth
from the Google Sidewiki team posted that today at the google-sidewiki-api@googlegroups.com forum

Fri Nov 13 14:38:47 2009: 7545   TonyLawrence

Google announced an API for fetching SideWiki's for a domain.

So far, it doesn't work well.

The docs say to use


but actually that gets nothing.


almost works - it returns SOME of the SideWiki entries. Interestingly, it also returns an entry I don't find when actually using SideWiki in a browser.

Also, I can't subscribe to this with Google Reader - so something is still broken!


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