The Power of Google’s “Blogger Web Comments” for Firefox

Google's Blogger Web Comments for Firefox
Bloggers can now quickly see what others think of them through Google’s Blogger Web Comments for Firefox

Google’s Firefox Team launched two essential browser extensions which you should really try now: Blogger Web Comments and Google Safe Browsing

Blogger Web Comments for Firefox is an extension that makes it easy to see what bloggers are saying about a page you’re viewing in Firefox. You’ve probably seen this functionality in one form or another (e.g. StumbleUpon) but the difference here is how simple and straightforward it works for the typical user. Bloggers would be interested to use this as an alternative feedback mechanism on their blog to see what others think of them. The results do come from the Google Blog Search engine, though I wish it used Technorati which seems to do a better job using trackbacks. Interestingly, Steve Rubel was quick to demonstrate how splogs continue to clutter Google’s results as seen in the blog comments for Dell’s homepage. Overall, I’d rate this Firefox extension as having a disruptive potential as an awareness application for businesses.

Google Safe BrowsingGoogle Safe Browsing is an extension to Firefox that alerts you if a web page that you visit appears to be asking for your personal or financial information under false pretences. In other words, it notifies you when you’re on a potential phishing site. It’s pretty useful and intuitive until you realize that you cannot install the extension if you don’t live in the United States. Fortunately for us, Amit Agarwal shows us how to install it from wherever you are.

Note to Google Firefox team: I’d stagger the releases over time just to create more focus and impact on each Firefox extension.

5 thoughts on “The Power of Google’s “Blogger Web Comments” for Firefox

  1. Isn’t Google Web Comments a rehash of Third Voice? That SG start up that went bust after it was clogged up with spam?

  2. Wandie: You’re right… Third Voice was the pioneer in this space and since then there have been many iterations. It’s obvious you’ve been in the business. I think the key difference here is that instead of directly commenting on a page, web comments are grabbed off blogs linking to it (i.e. trackbacks). The extension does seem to let you directly add a comment as well, which would be more “third voice” like. However, instead of regular spam, Google’s web comments are still subject to Splogs (i.e. spam blogs). In essence, these web comments are more abstract, but sadly spam has evolved likewise too!

    Sacrelicious: Good find! Here’s my take in which I see two silver linings: First, this affects only the Google Safe Browsing extension, not the comments extension, so that’s one out of two. Second, only “bad” ecommerce sites submit private information about you via a GET request (i.e in the URL, such as a credit card number). Good sites encrypt all the way. Anyone sniffing network packets would have seen that unencrypted GET request regardless of the Google extension or not (e.g. via Ethereal). I don’t work for Google, but I do think security is every party’s responsibility, not just Google.

  3. Kevin – Actually i posted that link to allow peeps to know in details how it actually works in the background (I have a deep curiosity in how stuff works, ranging from ATM to magic tricks šŸ˜€ ). I think phishing sort of work along the line of “social engineering”, google is pretty cool to start the ball rolling by producing that. End user is still the key factors and we do need that additional aid/tool to alert us every now and then to raise our awareness due to lack of caffeine/sleep.

    In my opinion, we should encourage more folks to “disect and analyse” programs and stuff to improve them. Just like the rootkit issues by sony, one cool guy took the extra mile to analyse it and got the attention of the world.

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