Google usually learns about websites by silently watching user behaviors and link patterns. Soliciting sloppy human-generated metadata has never been their thing. They have good reason to stay away from that: you often learn a lot more from watching how humans behave than listening to them talk. That’s why Google SearchWiki was such a departure from the norm. Now Google bravely forges deeper into the social muck with Google Sidewiki, a collaborative annotation service for Web sites.
I know what you’re thinking: here come the spammers, the idiots, and the trolls — ready to attach all sorts of crap to every site on the Web, all at Google’s expense. Fortunately, Google says its algorithmic magic will bring the best annotations to the top. The fact that Google Sidewiki requires the Google Toolbar imposes at least some sort of IQ baseline for contributors. Let’s see if Google’s mechanistic power can bring order to such Web-wide commenting chaos.
In the meantime, watch out for Kanye West on Sidewiki. “Yo, I really like this website, I’mma let you see it, but Beyonce has one of the best Web sites of all time!”