Feeds

Google fits web with meta comments engine

The wiki that goes everywhere

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Google has added a new contraption to its browser toolbar that lets you annotate any web page - and read annotations left by others.

Yes, it's what you might call a meta comments engine. And this being Google, the company is intent on using Google algorithms to sort these comments according to Google-defined relevance.

Announced this morning on the Official Google Blog, the contraption is known as Sidewiki. "What if everyone, from a local expert to a renowned doctor, had an easy way of sharing their insights with you about any page on the web? What if you could add your own insights for others who are passing through?" the post reads. "Now you can."

Available for download with the Google Toolbar here, Sidewiki pops up as a browser sidebar, along the left-hand side of a webpage. From there, you can annotate a page - targeting specific pieces of text - and read annotations left by others. But unlike the average comment engine, comments will be sorted.

"Developing Sidewiki, we wanted to make sure that you'll see the most relevant entries first," the company said. "We worked hard from the beginning to figure out which ones should appear on top and how to best order them. So instead of displaying the most recent entries first, we rank Sidewiki entries using an algorithm that promotes the most useful, high-quality entries. It takes into account feedback from you and other users, previous entries made by the same author and many other signals we developed."

You can read more about Google's algorithmic methods here.

What's more, if you comment on a particular piece of text that turns up on other webpages, Google will leave your exposition on those pages as well. For example, if you comment on a Barack Obama quote, your words will appear next to every site that repeats the quote.

The company also intends to offer an API that lets third party developers access comment created with the new tool. So, at some point, other applications will have the power to read and write Sidewiki comments as well. And it all gets pumped into Google's ever-growing collection of online data that it's doing who knows what with.

Like so many home grown Google projects, Sidewiki may fall flat on its face. But if it survives, you can bet that Google will one day use your comments to target some ads.

Sidewiki is available on the Google toolbar with both Firefox and Internet Exporer. And Google is working to roll it directly into Chrome as well. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.