back to article Google fits web with meta comments engine

Google has added a new contraption to its browser toolbar that lets you annotate any web page - and read annotations left by others. Yes, it's what you might call a meta comments engine. And this being Google, the company is intent on using Google algorithms to sort these comments according to Google-defined relevance. …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Bryan Anderson

    Is nothing sacred?

    So now I can spend days, weeks, months creating a web site only to have it commented on, corrected (possibly in error), ripped apart, etc, by total strangers with no ability to monitor, censor, approve or anything?


    theREG Father MAD Mike MAgee Honoured....

    MAD MIKE MAGEE Best of 50 in world, #35....

    Michael Vaughn Roberts Magee or MAD Mike Magee has won Prize Near Nobel of Import, At Least Pulitzer. of 50 TOP Britians in Computing, MAD MIKE MAGEE Stampeeded in At Place 35.

    Impressive, theINQ is mentioned in article Here:

    35: Mike MageeFounder, The Register and The Inquirer

    Magee co-founded The Register in 1994 and in doing so brought a sarcastic, tabloid-style of journalism to the IT sector. Arguably an influence on the snark-heavy tone of tech blogs, Magee has since gone on to launch The Inquirer, which he sold in 2006 to VNU, publisher of Computing and IT Week, but remained as editor. After leaving VNU in 2008, he set up a third IT news site TG Daily. Opps, Now Mike IS Mike. Actually theINQ Sold to SubUnit of NBC at that time Inverness, then Incisive, part of VNU

    Signed:Thomas Stewart von Drashek M.D.

    posted by : Thomas Stewart, 23 September 2009

  3. Paul 176

    expect they'll own the posts, too

    So we've got to run their toolbar to read these comments, and we've got to put up with it on our OWN sites if using their browser to view? Have I really got that right? Chutzpah doesn't cover it.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Bryan Anderson

    Yes, but it's always been thus, except the users have only been able to mutter "another damn useless Flash-infested site!" only to themselves, not to world+dog.

    If you're smart, you'll read the comments and take constructive criticism.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    No susprises

    You almost did it, almost surprised me. I couldn't believe my eyes as i was nearing the end of an article about Google on Reg and still hadn't received the usual shot of paranoia.

    "And it all gets pumped into Google's ever-growing collection of online data that it's doing who knows what with."

    Ah, here's the little nugget. I mean, come on - an article about Google, by Cade Metz? Without some variant of "teh google be gettin' mah dataz! oh noes!"? This wouldn't be El Reg and this wouldn't be Cade Metz.

    Well, guess what? I don't care. I've published this data for all the world to see, I don't care what Google does with it. It's important to keep big companies on their toes but this is just Google bashing.

  6. Daniel Pimley
    Thumb Down

    Criticism from the mindless masses

    "If you're smart, you'll read the comments and take constructive criticism."

    teh shuld be more lolcats on this web page!!!1

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Suppose I sent an email to someone who used Gmail, and they annotated that email using this facility, does that put my entire email into Gurgle's search cache? If so, the baddies are going to find a way to push stuff into webpages that were not intended for publication in a way that is not obvious, making them public.

  8. André Marques

    You aren't seeeing the big picture

    I was thinking that this was mostly useless, seeing as any webpage with stuff to discuss about usually had a comments or forums page to do so... Except of course stuff like OFFICIAL product pages. Imagine the fanboy wars moving to or bad experiences reported just beside a new Ford options list. Cheaper alternative next to an Amazon price... It sounds disastrous for any business who stop having control of their own site. Sounds great for consumers until you remember the trolls and spammers...

    /dumb meme LEAVE [INTERNET] alone! Why don't you leave it alone!!!

  9. TeeCee Gold badge

    I might give this a try.

    Oh, hang on. "Available for download with the Google Toolbar......". Oh. No I won't then.

    Even Adobe have got the message these days that I might want to install product X without having pointless fucking toolbar Y installed as well.

  10. tref

    who is going to moderate it?

    Who is going to moderate the comments? I would say it also exposes Google as an accessory to libel.

  11. Adam Williamson 1


    hasn't someone done this before? i'm sure they have. may have been Google, may have been Firefox, now I come to think of it.

    it was a gigantic flop, as I recall.

  12. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    And if you're not smart?

    Or like me, totally allergic to such visual graffiti, you'll never see it since you won't have the toolbar in the first place. I'll be able to swan along in happy complacency, unaware that my page is being ripped to bits by people with too much time on their hands.

    Um, no thanks, Google, I don't think I'll be installing toolbars just so you can get your fingers into another advertising stream. If people wish to comment on my page, they'll be able to find the email address.

  13. Duncan Hothersall


    I fear that insights might be an optimistic view of what's likely to be posted.

    On the plus side, it does mean Orlowski's articles will have somewhere to post comments. (Apart from his welcoming email address, obv.)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah, right

    "What if everyone, from a local expert to a renowned doctor, had an easy way of sharing their insights with you about any page on the web?"

    That would be nice.

    However, I think it would be more accurate to say "What if every little chav had an easy way of scrawling vulgar, banal, puerile grafiti on any page on the web?"

  15. Anonymous Coward


    I've suggested to them that they add a setting to the robots.txt file so webmasters can disable sidewiki on their sites.

    I for one don't use the google toolbar nor google profiles, so I would never know if someone were to post something bad about my website. I'd rather not give anyone the opportunity to do so.

    Actually, if I wanted to give people the opportunity to leave comments, I'd add a comments page; I don't so I don't.

    Can we have good and bad google icons please? Goodgle and Badgle perhaps?

    I'll get my coat!

  16. Stephen Macken
    Thumb Up

    Libel hell...

    Bring it on I say, lawyers need more libel cases...

  17. sandman
    Thumb Down

    Who cares?

    This always assumes that I actually care what people might think. Anyone wanting to provide useful feedback can use the amazingly provided email address - I know, staggeringly modern technology. Viewers wishing to indulge their egos can do it somewhere else - here for example - ah, whoops, hoist by own petard again.

  18. Rafael 1

    Web 2.5?

    "What if everyone, from a local expert to a renowned doctor, had an easy way of sharing their insights with you about any page on the web?"

    He could use something called "e-mail".

    I wonder whether the "insights" any moron could add will be anonymous, and how long would it take to be filled with spam.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Hey I'm off to ...

    ... comment on the Google company history page regarding Larry Page's genital warts.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Just say no

    Toolbars just hog browser window space and other PC resources, space and CPU, etc. The browsers take long enough to load as it is, with checking all the add ons, etc for updates.

    Toolbars can cause conflicts with other software - I ended up having to remove Google toolbar from my Dad's PC due to a conflict with another piece of software, after eventually tracking it down to that.

    Toolbars get installed far too easily by those not in the know as every other program decides to suggest you need Google/Yahoo/etc toolbar. So much so, that users can have multiple toolbars installed and think they are removed by just disabling them. I've seen computers with loads of these.

    The average user could also pick up malware from installing what they think is a genuine toolbar.

    And really, what is the point? There is already a search box in the corner of IE/FF/Safari/etc, there is no need for what, to me, is really a more glorified search box.

    As for this new feature, won't the comments be mostly falling on deaf ears as the world and his dog does not have Google toolbar, nor feels the need to install it. Don't get me wrong, I like a lot of Google services but cannot stand browser toolbars. The gain does not outweigh the problems they cause, as far as I can tell.

    Rule of thumb for me, just don't install any toolbars, so I won't see this feature, apart from when fixing other user's pcs, no doubt.

    Shouldn't they be able to provide the information stored about your site, without forcing you to install the toolbar, under the data protection act, at least in the UK?

  21. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Legitimised vandalism

    "So, at some point, other applications will have the power to read and write Sidewiki comments as well"

    So shouldn't be too long before the Propaganda Squads start to auto-comment on everything they find adverse on sites, and 'correcting' comments left by others. And it will be fun with Wickedpedia; when you cannot get the edit through you just scrawl it in the Sidewank.

    But how does one control derogatory and untrue comments left for others to see that can be highly damaging for a site ? Lots of people won't even realise they are there if they don't or can't use the darned thing. It'll be like having an offensive note stuck on you back you're unaware of.

    Seems like a good idea but unlikely to be so in practice. Once it gets plagued by the overwhelming crud and illiteracy as normally left on comment and feedback pages I expect it will quickly fall into disuse.

    Mine's the one with the automated "u r hav crakz on windize 7 seriel numer !!! email with lol thanks many" generator in the pocket.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I came up with a very similar idea a few months ago. I figured there must be an easy way to make money from purile comments in the same way that web2.0 site makers did. Allow people to talk crap about any web page they liked and it can be visible to anyone who visits the page. Very useful for news sites that don't have comment pages, no need to sign up for a forum to tell anyone if some advice on it is good/bad. Hell I didn't even need to make any money while I ran the site, just get it successful enough and sell it to someone who thinks it will (just before it falls into the toilet like they all do) and retire. Oh well, Google wins this one, I'll get my skates on for the next idea.

  23. Gannon (J.) Dick
    Thumb Up

    Google being nice to hate, again

    If you seriously think there is something out there, use Zotero.

    Otherwise, the WikiWhaterer(tm) is just one of the many indulgences Google gives trolls in the hope that they will keep all that pent up nastiness in check. This "won't work unless you help us" strategy really takes all, if not most, of the fun out of fight to the death with a monopolist.

    The Microsoft, I mean third party, access was a nice twist of the butter knife.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like