So, Google has come out with a new (for now, beta) addition to the Google toolbar. It's called Sidewiki, and it is essentially a way for people to leave comments on a website for others to read, regardless of whether or not the company itself enables or accepts comments themselves. You can read more about it here:
I, for one, am super-excited about this- it has some really exciting implications for web browsing, and I think it will give retailers and companies even more incentive to provide good service and the best possible products. As an example, the website TripAdvisor is a forum that allows people to review hotels and local attractions (because from a hotel's website you can't necessarily tell how clean the bathrooms are, how thin the walls might be, or what the service is like). When researching destinations for our honeymoon last year, I can't tell you how long I spent with two windows open in my browser- one to a hotel website, the other to TripAdvisor, comparing. This would eliminate the need for that, and more importantly allow people to post anything from how socially responsible a corporation is, to help navigating the site itself. It also has some interesting implications for the pharmaceutical industry:
I think this is definitely a so-called "blue ocean" innovation- it took the technology out of the red ocean of developers who design the typical comment programs for website owners to use, and moved the process to the user side, rather than the provider side. Judging by some of the comments in the Google Help forums, there are a few people who are pretty angry about this. They feel like they are losing control of their web content, but it kind of makes me wonder what is wrong with their websites and companies that they need to object so strenuously.
As a consumer, I can't wait for this to reach widespread use. What do you guys think?