Several companies have tried to create a universal tool to allow Internet users to write comments about websites and read those comments independently from the sites.
The main idea behind a feature like this is that users may add information this way even if a site does not support comments at all. This can be best use tips, suggestions, tips or additional links.
No effort so far has been backed by a company that could reach the critical mass needed to turn a project like this into a success.
That's until now: Google introduced the new service Google Sidewiki recently that the company integrated into its Google Toolbar product.
Google Sidewiki allows Google Toolbar users to leave comments about any website or page that they visit.
Comments that have been left by other users can be read by anyone, but only users who are logged into a Google Account can leave comments.
Users can rate comments, and only the most popular comments are displayed initially with the option to look at the rest of the comments on the next page. The Google Sidewiki team has released a video that visualizes the functionality of the feature.
One of the problems that this kind of programs faces is the abuse of the system. Google tries to combat abuse with a rating system. It remains to be seen if this is good enough to keep internet marketers and spammers away from manipulating comments on popular websites.
The other problem that could turn down many users is the exclusive integration in the Google Toolbar. Users who do not want to install the toolbar can still read comments
by using a method described at Digital Inspiration. Google Sidewiki can be downloaded from the Google website. It is compatible with Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.
Update: Google has discontinued Sidewiki. The service is no longer available. There does not seem to be a comparable service at this point in time.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.