I recently received an email from Google that they are discontinuing Sidewiki. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Google Sidewiki, it was an annotation service that appears next to your website with comments from users, both positive and negative; complaints and compliments. I wrote several articles about Google Sidewiki on this blog:
When Google Sidewiki was first announced in September 2009, it was intended as a way for Google users to share good and bad experiences with a company on the same page as the company’s website. This led to a backlash from organizations.
a. Some web owners were most upset that they no longer owned all the space on the browser when a customer accesses their webpages. There was much angst about the fact that the webpage owners were paying for this communication and that there was a loss of control over what the customer could see.
b. There was a real fear that there will be only negative comments left on Sidewiki (a reputation management nightmare) though that was clearly NOT what Google was intending. There was also a fear that competitors would use the space to spread false information, right on the company’s webpage.
c. There was a concern that the mega bucks spent by companies to create a design on their website and sales pages would lose its value, when a Sidewiki pane with a different ‘look and feel’ than the sales page is presented at the left, where most people start reading (left to right).
Why is Google discontinuing Sidewiki now?
Google is cleaning house. In a recent blog post called A Fall Spring Clean, a number of Google products are being discontinued, one of which is Sidewiki. Here’s what Google said:
“Over the past few years, we’ve seen extraordinary innovation in terms of making the web collaborative. So we’ve decided to discontinue Sidewiki and focus instead on our broader social initiatives.
Sidewiki authors will be given more details about this closure in the weeks ahead, and they’ll have a number of months to download their content.”
I guess that is why I received the email from Google about its closure.
I am not sure Google Sidewiki ever caught on. It certainly was not publicized very much, maybe due to the feedback it received from the business community. I rarely found any input on any site I visited.
Did you have any experiences with Google Sidewiki? Do you think it is will be missed? Leave your comments below.
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