And another gripe about Google SearchWiki – It’s Not a Wiki

Thank you, Marshall Kirkpatrick. You’ve made another wise observation about what’s wrong with Google SearchWiki: It’s not a wiki!

Of course, this isn’t the first time Google’s branding of new products has perplexed me. The most dumbfounding one is still iGoogle, but, as Marshall explains in great detail, putting the suffix “wiki” on Google’s new feature is a disservice to those of us who want to see the concept of wikis expand beyond their close association with a gigantic encyclopedia that includes the term in its name.

Says Marshall:

“We wonder why Google would choose to call this feature a wiki when it’s pretty evident that’s not what it is. You can’t edit anyone’s text in SearchWiki. You can’t collaborate intentionally – perhaps in effect users are collaborating by voting search results up and down, but that’s hardly the kind of collaborative behavior that every other wiki in the world makes possible. There’s no way to reach consensus, or stasis, in SearchWiki. You can’t see the past history of anyone who contributes. Documents don’t change, they just get bigger. There’s no discussion of the “wiki” document, just the document itself.

As a lot of my speaking and presenting and writing is focused on educating those who could benefit from social and conversational media tools like wikis, I can tell you that “wikis” are a hard thing to convince marketers to embrace — especially those not currently utilizing the platform. If a company like Google slaps the word “wiki” on something that isn’t a wiki, it adds to the challenge.

Bonus link: While he’s wrong ;- ) , Robert Scoble actually likes Google SearchWiki.