Thursday, September 24, 2009

The New Sidewiki From Google

I can't imagine the surprise that, after two days, you're getting another blog post from me!?! Well, a) I've got another thought to share and b) there has been some motivation to get my Fridge back up and running a little smoother. Nonetheless, I'm glad to also have the time to share some more with you.

Google came out yesterday with Sidewiki, a browser add-on that lets you see other people's comments about a specific website.

The good and the bad is that the content is user driven. That could mean sharing outstanding personal experiences at websites for museums or historically significant places. It could also mean garbage. They do have a plan for how comments show up in Sidewiki, but I don't know if there would be a filter on it for "inappropriate" words (or who deems what's inappropriate...just lookin' out for the kids).
Under the hood, we have even more technology that will take your entry about the current page and show it next to webpages that contain the same snippet of text. For example, an entry on a speech by President Obama will appear on all webpages that include the same quote. We also bring in relevant posts from blogs and other sources that talk about the current page so that you can discover their insights more easily, right next to the page they refer to.
Other drawbacks that either aren't there or I haven't found yet include:
  • Having to re-open Sidewiki each time you go to a new page. I can see where it would be annoying to always be on, but I would like that option, especially if I was doing research.
  • The requirement of the Google Toolbar. I realize the new toolbar includes the button, but I'm not a toolbar kind of guy. I'm a huge Diigo fan, but I like a small toolbar.
In the end, I really think that Sidewiki could be a huge boost to students and educators when searching the long as there is a way to keep the content clean. I would try it out for yourself and make your own opinion.

More great insight from Free Tech 4 Teachers.

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