Google Mystery Blogger Promotion Was For Sidewiki

Last Updated Sep 24, 2009 12:30 PM EDT

Last week I mentioned that Google was pushing a new product via a blogger PR blitz and a promise to send a gift bag pertaining to a new product. It seems that it was Google Sidewiki, which gives users the ability to annotate web pages, contributing content and probably expanding the concept of what a web page is.

Of course, if you think that comment sections can at times lead to literary insanity, can you imagine what happens with out-and-out page warfare? Apparently there is a quality algorithm that combines with user-voted ratings to see how high up in the list comments appear. I predict an avalanche of guerilla marketing in the near future. And there's already some critical backlash in the form of saying that Google wants to own the Internet by supplementing (or replacing) the existing comment sections that sites already have. Of course, the real question is whether there might eventually be ads, in which case, could Google eventually infringe copyright by making commercial use of another's intellectual property without permission?

Oh, and the blogger gift package? A copy of Sailing Alone Around the Room by that wonderful poet, Billy Collins. A bookmark with mention of Sidewiki was placed at the poem, Marginalia. It's worth buying the book for it alone:

Sometimes the notes are ferocious, skirmishes against the author raging along the borders of every page in tiny black script. If I could just get my hands on you, Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien, they seem to say, I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.
It shows you that even a PR campaign can bring some good.
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    Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. The views expressed in this column belong to Sherman and do not represent the views of CBS Interactive. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman or on Facebook.