Sidewiki without the Google Toolbar in Firefox (almost!)

Google’s Sidewiki is a pretty nifty tool. But many people including myself don’t want to install the whole toolbar just for this one feature. There are some sad little bookmarklet implementations out there that show you an unformatted Sidewiki page where you can’t add anything – and that’s just missing the whole point of this feature.

While I haven’t found a way to completely do away with the toolbar, I have found a way to remove it’s presence in Firefox and have just the Sidewiki icon sitting innocuously next to the top menu next to the “Help” menu. Here’s what it looks like (Click to enlarge):

Sidewiki without the Google Toolbar
Sidewiki without the Google Toolbar

As you can see, the entire toolbar has gone, and I haven’t replaced my regular Firefox search box either (I used Experimental keyboard shortcuts and I don’t like it changed). Just a little Sidewiki icon that doesn’t harm anyone! Of course, the Toolbar is still installed – and I haven’t found a way to do away with that yet. So here’s how I did it:

  1. Install the Google Toolbar – leave the default settings
  2. Go to View -> Toolbars -> Customize
  3. You’ll have a palette of icons now. Reach over with your mouse cursor, and grab the Sidewiki Icon from the Google Toolbar. Drag the icon next to the “Help” menu (or any other place you want it to be)
  4. Click Done.
  5. Again go to View -> Toolbars, and uncheck the Google Toolbar option

You’re through! You should get the result in the screenshot above. No Google Toolbar with full Sidewiki functionality in an unobtrusive place. It’s a good enough workaround for me right now until someone comes up with a good bookmarklet that completely replicates the functionality of the Toolbar icon. That may not even be possible though. Till then, I’m happy :)

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  1. I tried it. Even put the icon up next to my address bar (Can’t use it with Chrome? WTF?).

    1. When I put my comment on the side, it revealed my true identity. Very difficult for someone like me who prizes anonymity.

    2. It seems like less of a wiki and more of a commenting system. Isn’t that the criticism people have, anyway? It just subverts the normal commenting system. Which might be OK, if there’s some good data to be had via Webmaster tools (haven’t checked this out, yet). But otherwise, what’s the point?


  2. @the plasticgraduate
    I could possibly find it useful to comment on a site that doesn’t accept any feedback – like some WSJ, NYT and Washington Post news articles for example.

    Or perhaps certain product pages which people have had bad experiences with – but then maybe one could use other review services for that.

    As for identity, there is a point there. Of course, one might say that it’s best to have a Google account that doesn’t reveal anything about you – but that’s quite a pain. Still, I think it’s reasonable inasmuch it only talks about your publicly available ID – no IP address or something creepy like that.

    But yeah, an anonymous option would be good. But then Google can’t decide if a particular person is spamming or not. Best option IMHO is have a Google account that has no personal info.


  3. @David
    That's very odd indeed. I have no idea why that could be happening…It works fine for me. Are you using any unusual version of Firefox, or OS?

    Just talking shooting from the hip here – are you logged into your Google account?


  4. my FF, google and OS are all standard and updated and logged in..But if it works fine for you then i guess there's a problem with my FF addons or greasemonkey scripts..i'll investigate and report
    Thanks @bhagwad


  5. Great tip, but it seems that the sidewiki button is unresponsive although it looks enabled

    it gets unresponsive after hiding the g-toolbar, comes back to life when i put it back..

    does it work for you? ideas will be very appreciated :)


  6. I couldn’t get mine next to the Help menu like Bhagwad. But it works perfectly in the navigation (address) bar.


  7. @David
    Hi, any resolution to this problem of yours?


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