Oct 13, 2009

On the Side: Sidewiki and SideKick

First, a side of Google. A few weeks back, Google introduced a new feature on it's Toolbar letting people comment on any web page. Called Sidewiki, people with Google accounts can comment on the entire content of a Web page or about specific portions of the page. They can also publish these comments to Twitter, Facebook and Blogger accounts.

Why is this important? Well, it's importance depends on it's popularity, but it frees comments from websites by opening all websites to comments--outside any comment, moderation or policy of a site.

People can have discussions around your site, rather than on it. Google wins by collecting information about pages and sites from humans rather than machines to grow their search algorithms. It's also another potential ad space--imagine an ad for Coke on the Pepsi homepage, Or ads from private sector employers in the same browser window as usajobs.gov.

For site owners, Google lets you claim your sites on Sidewiki. It's a good idea, too, since site owner comments appear first. You'll need a Google Webmaster Tools account. Many government sites are already using the Google Webmaster tools after the the Google Sitemaps push in dot-gov a few years back. Follow the steps here to claim your site. It took my team about ten minutes.

My second side is a side of the cloud you didn't want to see. People using T-Mobile's Sidekick smart phone lost all of their data supposedly safe "in the cloud."
A server meltdown over the weekend wiped out the master copies of personal data -- including address books, calendars, to-do lists and photos -- accumulated by users of T-Mobile's formerly popular Sidekick smartphone.

This computing calamity allows Sidekick owners only a faint hope of backing up the information currently on their devices, and none of recovering anything they'd trusted to online storage. And it leaves T-Mobile and the operator of the Sidekick's data service, a Microsoft subsidiary formerly known as Danger, Inc. -- oh, the irony! -- with some serious explaining to do.--Read more on WaPost.
Is this a setback for cloud computing? Well, it does put a damper on the cloud hype-machine. Importantly, the "cloud" in question was a single server--a single point of failure. To me, that doesn't sound like a cloud application but an application called "cloud computing."

For government, at the simplest it means to make sure you know what you are buying, understand redundancies and risks, and NEVER let your data get out of your control. A tough reminder, caveat emptor.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I hope that you will read and comment, ask questions and make suggestions. I just ask that you simply stay on topic, respect other people’s opinions, avoid profanity, offensive statements, illegal content, and other unpleasantries. Since this is my personal blog, I reserve the right to delete any comment.