Google Sidewiki is a new browser sidebar from Google that lets users annotate or put comments on any web page on the Internet. These comments (Google calls them sidewiki entries) are public and therefore other Google Toolbar users visiting that web page may also read your comments.
For instance, Danny Sullivan left this comment on the Code of Conduct page that other visitors to that page may read and even vote upon if they find the comment useful. Google also maintains a sidewiki leaderboard to highlight the top users of their product.
To learn more about Google Sidewiki, please watch the following screencast videos:
Google Sidewiki without the Google Toolbar
To read or write comments using Google Sidewiki, you need to install Google Toolbar in your browser and that may be deal-breaker for some because Google Toolbar is only available for Internet Explorer and Firefox. That means if you are on Google Chrome, Safari or Opera, you will miss the Sidewiki experience.
There’s however a workaround that will let you read and vote on Sidewiki entries without the Google Toolbar.
Open the Sidewiki reader, type the URL of any webpage and hit Enter. The tool will show you a recent list of Sidewiki comments (if any) made on that page and each comment has a permalink so can you add your vote for that comment without getting the Google toolbar.
Or, if you need something more simple, just install the bookmarklet* above and click on it while you are on any webpage and you’ll be able to read (and rate) the sidewiki comments left by other Google Toolbar users. For instance, here’s what Sidewiki users have to say about TechCrunch. The limitation is that currently you cannot write new Sidewiki entries with this tool.
[*] If you need help, check this bookmarklets guide for a tutorial on how to install bookmarklets in any web browser.
The tool should work on most mobile phone browsers as well. iPhone / iPod touch users may add the above bookmarklet to their Safari browser and then sync it via iTunes.