Google Eases Retrieval of Sidewiki Entries for Entire Sites

    November 13, 2009
    Chris Crum

Google has announced the release of a new feature for the Sidewiki API, which the company says makes it easier to retrieve all Sidewiki entries for an entire domain. It allows you to look for new entries created on any page of a site, and subscribe to them via RSS.

If you are unfamiliar with Sidewiki, it is available as part of the Google Toolbar for Firefox and Internet Explorer or as a bookmarklet for Chrome, Safari, or other browsers that don’t support the Google Toolbar.

When using Sidewiki, an expandable window can be viewed on the left-hand side of the web page. When expanded, you can see comments by users or contribute your own. This works for any web page. There is a good chance that your site has been commented on via Sidewiki, and you don’t even know about it.

This actually brings up a pretty good reputation management point. If you are a webmaster, you may want to at least install the bookmarklet in your browser if you don’t use the Google Toolbar. This will allow you to keep tabs on what is being written about your site.

These comments are out there for other Sidewiki users to view. More information about how Sidewiki works can be found here. Google has created a top ten list of ways that people are already using Sidewiki. It may give you some ideas:

  1. Jason Young speaks from personal experience and gives detailed insight into tuning a bass guitar on EMG’s Bass Tips site.

  2. Antony Carthy, a programmer in South Africa, wrote tips on how to find latitude and longitude coordinates on Google Maps.

  3. Google’s own Matt Cutts warns visitors about a deceptive website.

  4. Shalin Gala of PETA calls on readers to sign a petition next to an article about animal mistreatment.

  5. Ron Burk suggests a missing reference for a medical article.

  6. The Mayo Clinic uses Sidewiki to welcome visitors with a special webmaster entry on its homepage (this one requires Sidewiki to view).

  7. Jesse Poe from New York offers up great insights in a review of an iPhone app by Daniel Johnston, one of his favorite musicians.

  8. Alfonso Grandis from Italy talks about his eye-witness account of a recent earthquake.

  9. David Davis, a software engineer from California, improves a snippet of code in a programming tutorial.

  10. Michael Roizen from the Cleveland clinic adds his advice about H1N1 vaccinations.

Google recommends commenters contribute expert insight, helpful tips, background information, and added perspective when using SideWiki. The company has said in the past that it uses "multiple signals" based on the "quality of the entry," what they know about the author, and other user-contributed signals like voting and flagging. They say they want to only keep the most relevant entries appearing in the sidebar.

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You No Longer Need the Google Toolbar to Use Sidewiki

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