When Google SideWiki launched just weeks ago, it was met with a powerful wave of criticism from the business world. Understandably so, because SideWiki essentially nabs a fourth or so of your webpage (any web page) and lets users say whatever they want on it. In the case of news pages, this isn't a huge deal, because most of these pages already have comments enabled. But now, people can essentially write comments on website home pages, articles that don't enable commenting, or anything else. Most businesses biggest fear is that competitors with use it to slander or criticize.

Of course, for SideWiki to have any real communicative power, Internet users will have to download it en masse and get in on the conversation. I doubt that has happened yet, and am not sure it ever will. First, the sidebar is fairly intrusive. Second, you can only see about ten comments without flipping to new "pages," which I doubt very many people will do. (And since the comments are based on quality/ranking, I seriously doubt any critical statements will bubble to the top unless they are true and widely accepted, which points to a bigger corporate issue.) And finally, from what I've seen thus far, the comments really aren't that helpful.

With that in mind, if you're still worried about SideWiki, you should check out UpdatePatrol.

What UpdatePatrol Does
UpdatePatrol is a software tool that lets you flag websites and web pages, and receive notification when those pages are updated. So, it could be used to flag your favorite company and news sites, for instance. And now, UpdatePatrol also supports SideWiki, so you can enter your own site, and then receive updates on SideWiki comments. And that's for all your pages--so if you have a giant news site like Windows IT Pro and don't want to go through all thousands of pages rifling for SideWiki comments, you can use UpdatePatrol to get updates.

Keep an Eye on SideWiki
My advice would be to keep an eye on SideWiki. Go ahead and download it here, and check up on your company's site and other sites every so often. If you start to see high user adoption, and a level of comments that are difficult to manage, it might be worth your while to get some software to track it. UpdatePatrol only costs $99.99 for a business user license, so it's no big cost endeavor to have a dedicated person receiving updates. And who knows, maybe you'll find some use for the other functionality it has.