Feeds

Google fits web with meta comments engine

The wiki that goes everywhere

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.