Feeds

Google fits web with meta comments engine

The wiki that goes everywhere

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.