Back in September, Google announced the culling of a number of its lesser-used services. Among them was Sidewiki, the company’s attempt at Web annotation. Today users of the service have been sent an email informing them that it will close on 5 December.
Sidewiki was launched on 23 September 2009 as a browser plugin packaged with Google Toolbar. In Google’s own words, it allowed users to “contribute helpful information next to any webpage. Google Sidewiki appears as a browser sidebar, where you can read and write entries along the side of the page.” The video below, published on the service’s launch day, explains more.
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As with many services from Google, Sidewiki’s arrival promped much hype and analysis online, but in the end users simply didn’t take to the idea of a universal comment system for the Web. In fact, Google-watcher Jeff Jarvis saw it as dangerous, as it effectively hid comments about a page from anyone who didn’t use Sidewiki, unlike comment threads embedded in a page itself. “Quite ungoogley, I’d say,” was his verdict.
However, Jarvis’ fears were for naught as Sidewiki never caught on. Google is now giving users until 5 December to export their data from the service (details here). After that date, all data will be deleted and Sidewiki will be no more.