Google Sidewiki

Ever wanted to read other people's observations — or even share your own — when you're browsing the Web?

Ever wanted to read other people's observations — or even share your own — when you're browsing the Web? Google Toolbar's new Sidewiki feature, which currently works in Firefox and Internet Explorer, lets you read and post comments on virtually any Web page. Here's a quick run-through of how it works.

First, download the Google Toolbar with Sidewiki. Installation takes only a few minutes.

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Once installation is complete, restart your browser. The Sidewiki button will appear in the Google Toolbar. (See lower right corner of image below.)

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To see Sidewiki in action, go to a popular content site such as CNN.com. Select a story, and then click the Sidewiki button. If other Sidewiki users have already commented on the story, you'll see a list of entries in a right-side column, or sidebar.

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Have a brilliant observation or additional information to share? Click "Write an entry" at the bottom of the sidebar. (To add a comment, you'll first have to log into your Google account.)

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To filter out spam, off-topic remarks, and the all-too-common illiterate rants that plague comments sections of many sites, Sidewiki uses a "quality algorithm" in addition to user ratings to determine the order of entries that appear in the sidebar. You can vote on the usefulness of individual posts.

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You can share a Sidewiki comment via Facebook, Twitter, email, or Web link. Here's a Twitter example:

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For more information on Sidewiki, including a brief video demo, check out this post on The Official Google Blog.

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Jeff Bertolucci

PC World (US online)

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