Google SideWiki – My, that is helpful. Or is it?

“What if you could easily contribute to any webpage and help others” opens the well intentioned trailer from Google for their new Sidewiki project.

Thanks to Jay Fleischman who brought this to my attention via his blog, Legal Practice Pro

Essentially Sidewiki enables other users to attach wiki stickers to your website, or your company’s website.  Invisible wiki stickers that is.  You will not know if you have been stickered unless you install a pair of special glasses, aka the Sidewiki toolbar app, into your browser.

Even then, you have to remember to put on your wiki sticker spectacles to see what has been said.

Is this going to be a problem?  What happens with malicious wiki stickerers?  What remedies are available to wiki sticker victims?

What safeguards will any firm have against a competitor running a diversionary tactic against any other given firm, in any given sector?

For the first time in a long time I find myself feeling a little bit reactionary here.  Perhaps it comes on the back of the criticism I read about Google Wave being a productivity sink – see Robert Scoble’s critique here .  Is this another example of Google introducing stuff that could impact on productivity, `just because it can’?

To what end does Google innovate and introduce, or in the case of Sidewiki, impose these functions?

Will the cavalcade of Social Media Experts be looking at how to leverage your Sidewiki stickers and devising campaigns to do so?

Following Friday’s article on the ability of legal processes to offer protection against defamation, or passing off and fraud, how will Google Sidewiki protect against malicious one off comments?  In what circumstances could persisitant commenting amount to harassment?

Furthermore, as I understand it, Google is saying that it will determine what gets through and what doesn’t by way of adopting an algorithm.  On that basis, does it take on the role of controlling what gets published and could that bring liability back upon their doorstep?

Is it right that an organisation spends a large budget (insert your figure here) in crafting a carefully designed and presented message, only to have it defaced, with special invisible paint, by all and sundry?

So far, if an organisation wanted to embrace web 2.0 sentiments and capability then they had the option to do so by including blogs, their own wiki’s, comments, facebook fan pages and the like.  Many – well, a few –  will have carefully constructed policies determing how they will be monitored and managed.

Many more organisations will have decided they would rather not have that dialogue on the web and that, to date, has been their call, even if we as tech evangelists might disagree with their decision.

What Sidewiki seems to do is to force those companies into the middle of the dancefloor even though they might have preferred to simply hang out in the kitchen of the web 2.0 house party.  Is that appropriate?

And just when did Lawyer1point9 become so conservative?  Normal service will resume shortly.


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Filed under An End To Silo Thinking, General Technology

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