After my post Is Google Sidewiki Evil? I simply ignored the subject altogether and had disabled this function in my Google toolbar.
Google Sidewiki API
Yesterday, I noticed two very good posts with additional insights, good user comments, and I also added my mustard (as Germans would say) to the conversation and to the Google Help Forum as well.
But first things first.
Not many people are talking about this:
Google Sidewiki API
At least there is a documented API. All details about the Google Sidewiki API (↑) on Google's site. Here is what a developer can do with it.
- Get a list of Sidewiki entries written for a specific web page.
That means a website can crawl Sidewiki periodically, import the entries into a local database, trigger alerts, etc.
- Get a list of Sidewiki entries written by a specific author.
- Embed a custom gadget on your web page to display Sidewiki entries written about the page.
Well, there is already a Wordpress plugin for Google Sidewiki (↑) — WP-oySidewiki: Wordpress plugin for Google Sidewiki comments (↑), which lets you obtain and publish Google Sidewiki comments in your Worpress blog.
Just add this code in your Wordpress template:
<?php echo getSidewikiComments(get_permalink()); ?>
Are there some brave ones who check it out.
Let us know what you think of it?
I am sure some developers will offer free and paid scripts soon to make life with Sidewiki easier for businesses. For example: Write some monitoring scripts, put them in a cron-job and get notified on new entries immediately.
One can also subscribe to the RSS feed of each page's Sidewiki entries. This part of it sucks, “… each page …”.
http://www.google.com/sidewiki/feeds/entries/webpage/webpageUri/projection For example the URL for the feed of this blog's homepage entries: http://www.google.com/sidewiki/feeds/entries/webpage/http%3A%2F%2Fblogdev1.fcon21.biz%2F/default For this blog post : http://www.google.com/sidewiki/feeds/entries/webpage/http%3A%2F%2Fblogdev1.fcon21.biz%2F273%2Fis-google-sidewiki-evil%2F/default
The Sidewiki API Seems To Be Broken
At the time I am writing this post I cannot retrieve existing entries successfully for my blog. Newsgroup posts within the developer community also report “… inconsistent feed,” “… not all entries returned, ” etc.
More advanced coders may want to deal with the query interface. That's actually the proper way to go.
Nevertheless the existence of this API itself does not make Sidewiki legitimate the way it has been implemented and launched.
An opt-in/opt-out mechanism is still highly desirable, but at least it lets one monitor one's virtual real estate systematically. Now how hard would it be for Google to integrate that monitoring in the webmaster tool? Not very hard. I hope they do it.
Now, let me update some facts from my last post.
- A webmaster can add a comment which always appears at the top, and can leave regular comments in the flow of a conversation as well; Any comment can be edited and deleted by its author anytime.
- A website can be claimed from within more than one different Google account. That means for example.
- The IT personell can handle the technical and SEO related issues with Google Webmaster Tool.
- The PR people can handle the Sidewiki comments as page owners under a different Google account.
But I want to point out that the IT people and the PR people will share exactly the same provolidges within the Google webmaster tool. (That basically means either one can screw the site if they don't know what they are doing.)
- The API allows to build a monitoring tool which keeps an eye on all pages of your site and reports new Sidewiki comments.
That said, it looks a bit better now. But Google does not exercise permission marketing here.
Even though Sidewiki seems to appear on the website itself to the average Internet user it does not happen there. There are no ways to block Sidewiki without blocking a user who has the toolbar installed.
The software various scripts which are currently being sold come with a disclaimer from the authors: “Works now, but who knows for how long …”
Therefore, I do not recommend or even mention any of those ad hoc fixes here. They only degrade the user experience.
Comments In The Community
My Personal Main Arguments Against Google Sidewiki: (link to this statement)
“Google takes (big) money from advertisers and at the same time allows publicity for vandalism in a way the average Internet user will perceive as ‘on site’.
That is a serious conflict of interest. Furthermore Google opens the doors for additional advertising revenue in the future in the growing market of PPV (pay-per-view) advertising potentially at the expense of its own Adwords advertisers.”
More comments in the community:
- Paul Myers: What To Do About Sidewiki (↑)
The fourth option he suggest is just brilliant and still a win-win for the users, site owners and advertisers, and for Google.
- Sylvie Fortin: The Google Sidewiki Controversy (↑)
- Google asks for public feedback about Sidewiki (↑)
You can find my direct response to Google and its employee Matt5 posted on Oct 14, 2009 at 12:05 am. (Search for “johnfurst” or “John W. Furst” on the page.)
- My posts on this blog:
Could Google Toolbar With Sidewiki Hurt Social Bookmarking? NEW!
Is Google Sidewiki Evil?
John W. Furst
(**) Google and Google Sidewiki are trademarks of Google, Inc.
Comments are closed.
However, if you want to tell me something, drop me a line. Contact Us link in the footer.