Google Turning the Web Into an Exclusive Social Network?

    September 24, 2009
    Chris Crum

Search guru Danny Sullivan got an early scoop on a new Google Product that wasn’t supposed to be announced until later today. Its called the Sidewiki, and is a feature of the Google Toolbar. What it does is allow users to comment on any page on the web. These comments can only be viewed by others who have the toolbar/sidewiki installed.

When using Sidewiki, an expandable window can be viewed on the left-hand side of the webpage. When expanded, you can see the comments that have been written or contribute your own.

Google says 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. Sullivan says Google gave him a few other factors:

– Use of sophisticated language
– User’s reputation
– User’s history

Google recommends commenters contribute expert insight, helpful tips, background information, and added perspective.

Your Google Profile evidently plays a direct role in whether or not your comments appear. Google ranks profiles in a PageRank-like manor, so the higher you profile is ranked, the more likely your comments are able to appear. "Unfortunately, you have no way of knowing your ProfileRank," says Sullivan.

I’ve discussed numerous times in the past about how Google is becoming one giant social network of sorts, and this seems to indicate that it is on some levels even an exclusive social network. Anyone can participate, but it sounds like you have to be somebody to get in.