What if last month Google made the entire web social, yet most people – and companies – didn’t seem to notice? Because that’s what happened with the launch of Google Sidewiki and the reaction – other than in some corners of the blogosphere – was a loud, distracted yawn.
Is it because everyone now expects the web to be social or is it because the full implications of Google Sidewiki have yet to fully realized?
I tend to think it is the latter.
This was the reaction of the New York Times Bits blog: “Google is rolling out a new service on Wednesday that will allow users to post notes alongside Web sites that can be read by other users.”
That’s putting it mildly. What about the part where web site owners don’t control the comments? They can’t edit them. They can’t delete them. And anybody who has Sidewiki will be able to read them in there entirety be they raving reviews or scathing criticisms. It’s what every web operator needs – a public place for the crazies to leave their messages – permanently.
Google has basically made every single web page social – and that’s a paradigm shift of earthquake portions for brands, brand managers and communicators.
I’m sure that’s exactly the kind of intelligent discourse YouTube’s brand managers are looking for on the front page of their web site – for all to see.
Two analysts who do get the power of Sidewiki are Jeremiah Owyang and Charlene Li of Altimeter Group. They wrote a post yesterday addressing Google’s “stealth” move into social media by quietly making the web social (thereby weakening the grip of large social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook).
The post goes on to say:
“This is the stealth threat — that today’s social networks won’t really be losing share to the “Google network,” but rather, that they will become slowly less relevant as EVERYTHING gets social thanks to advances by Google. Their end goal? Google’s social network is designed to exist everywhere –not be centralized in any one location.”
That’s it in a nutshell.
So far the response by web owners and companies have been surprisingly muted. The mainstream press has done few hard-hitting analysis on Sidewiki. Is it because Sidewiki hasn’t reached critical mass yet?
What do you think?