Google has today launched an enhancement to its popular browser toolbar that allows users to comment on any webpage.
Sidewiki appears as a sidebar and allows users to discuss the content of the page currently open in the browser. Users can vote comments up and down, theoretically meaning the ‘best’ comments rise to the top.
The sidebar, which is also to be built into future versions of Google’s Chrome browser, has already angered some content producers. The fear is that if Google adds advertising to Sidewiki it will be making money from content without the original content producers seeing any of it.
Blogging veteran Robert Scoble today described Sidewiki as the “…latest attempt by (a) big company to make money off of my content on my blog.”
Talking to PaidContent, Google’s Aseem Sood denied that it planned to monetise the service. “Right now, our goal honestly is to increase the engagement of users on the web”. Note the “Right now”; that suggests that if the sidebar is a success it may still see Adsense units being added.
Unless Google can come to an arrangement with content producers, as it has with its recently launched FastFlip, there may be trouble ahead.
You can try Sidewiki by downloading Google Toolbar here.