Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Google Sidewiki- Blue Ocean Innovation?

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?


  1. Interesting .... but, if this product had been available when you were hotel-hunting, wouldn't you have still had the hotel Web site with its side-wiki up AND trip advisor? I guess it will take a while before I would consider the side-wiki to be the place where the most reliable content would exist.
    I'm not sure I think it's a blue ocean - blogs already exist for user-side comments. Definitely innovative to place blogs next to the Web content, but I don't think it has changed the boundaries of the existing market. That's my initial thought.

  2. This looks like an attempt to make the entire web one big blog, and even better (or worse), like wikipedia.com where all content can be linked, or embedded (sorry, I don't know the technical term for how wikipedia creates their web of links). I think it's innovative in the sense that Google is once again creating ways for consumers to access and share information in a user-friendly way like "sidewikis." I'm not sure I'd call it a "blue-ocean innovation" because it hasn't created a new need or market, but I like Google's relentless pursuit to offer internet users new ways to use the web.

  3. Although the idea sounds pretty good from a consumer's standpoint, I would dare to say that Google does not have a new or differentiated market in perspective. They are using something cool but I understood that the main issue with the blue ocean was to explore into the needs of a specif group... Maybe they will discover it soon and have something even more interesting to offer.