Google’s SideWiki Merging the Social Web with Web Pages
A week ago Google announced Sidewiki, a free toolbar service that lets anyone (anyone registered with Google, that is) add comments to any web page... yes, ANY web page. This raises all sort of questions about who can and will monitor such comments. Of course there are usage policies that you agree to follow, but the real question -- for the owner of the web page -- is who (and how) will these policies be monitored and enforced?
Jeremiah Owyang writes in his blog (http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2009/09/24/googles-sidewiki-shifts-power-to-consumers-away-from-corporate-web-teams/) about shifting power to consumers and away from corporate website publishers. Others have written about this being a field day for the lawyers. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out. Adoption will be very much based on the ease of access and the value-add that the service provides.
In a July 17th post http://blog.niccllc.net/where-is-search-headed I wrote about the increasing need for "social relevancy" ranking. In that post I said, "... the folks who thunk up the PageRank algorithms we all use today are likely focused on it." I didn't know how prescient that statement was.
It seems that Sidewiki is already demonstrating that it intends to sort the page comments based on who provided them and their "voted upon", perceived value. If they then use your Google profile to start adding additional levels of social "relevancy" ranking to these comments, things could get very interesting.
This seems to me to represent a HUGE step toward merging "content providers" and "content consumers" into one level playing field. Lets keep watching to see where it goes!