Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The New Google Toolbar Allows You to Share, Shorten, and Sidewiki

In a recent announcement, Google unleashed an updated toolbar that makes sharing information and favorite websites even easier.

Sharing Web Pages
The first enhancement to the Google Toolbar is Shareaholic. Personally, the Shareaholic application gets a lot of use from me. In fact, it is one of my must have extensions.

In short, Shareaholic allows users to share web pages with others via a number of social networking sites. For example, if I want to provide the latest news to all my Twitter friends, I simply click on the share button and select Twitter. From there, I am transported into Twitter with the title of the page and a shortened URL. At this point, I can either edit the message or just hit update. It's all very simple.

Not only can I send it to Twitter, but I can also send similar information to my friends on Facebook, Digg, Google Reader, and more. Therefore, the tedious process of helping others find good information is now a click away.

URL Shortener
The second update to Google's Toolbar is a URL shortener. Available only in Feedburner and the toolbar, this enhancement makes long web addresses a thing of the past.

The advantage of using a URL shortener is to conserve space within sites like Twitter, where the number of characters conserved is important. This new feature will be in direct competition to services like Bit.ly.

When released, I hope Google will take advantage of its analytic tool and provide statistics on shared URLs.

Sidewiki
The showstopper for this update is Google Sidewiki. Released earlier this year, Sidewiki is a neat little tool to comment on just about any web page. Users will now have the opportunity to leave notes and videos about the page and its content.

For page owners, Google Sidewiki gives you the opportunity to leave highlighted notes for visitors to read. Additionally, Sidewiki sheds light on what users think about the content. For bloggers and content contributors, that type of feedback can aid in making user experience better.

An added benefit to feedback is that other visitors can vote on responses. Comments with higher number of votes will raise to the top while less helpful comments fall down the list.

This seems like an exciting feature with tons of opportunity for enhancing site design, content, and overall usefulness. With that written, go ahead and install the latest Google Toolbar or, for those using Chrome, download the Sidewiki extension. Once you have Sidewiki in place, make a new entry to see how it works.

Let's talk about your experience and feedback in the comment section below.

Until next time...

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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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