Google launches Sidebar in latest attempt to make 'push' model work online

Like a zombie from a George Romero flick, the PointCast model refuses to die.

The latest incarnation? Google Sidebar aggregrates news headlines, plus custom local weather reports and stock quotes in a desktop application window. Sidebar also adds new features, including the ability to read messages sent to a Gmail account and reader-selected RSS feeds within the Sidebar app. —Robert NilesGoogle launches Sidebar in latest attempt to make ‘push’ model work online (Online Journalism Review)

Blogs and do-it-yourself RSS feeds have changed the media landscape since the original PointCast era. I never saw a use for the old push mode, but I installed Google’s new sidebar on my home computer, and I like it. It doesn’t feel like push, because most of the content on the panel is plain old text. I can control the rate at which the photos change.

I’ll leave it off my work computer, since I’d rather not be distracted. But on my widescreen laptop, it’s a good use of the extra horizontal pixels — which don’t do me any good on the fixed-width web designs of many sites, including OJR.

Other cyberbuzz: Google Talk, a new IM service. (I once unintentionally got a sympathetic “Awww!” from my class when I told them that I don’t have any friends with which to chat online. That doesn’t mean I don’t have any friends, it just means that those friendships were formed in an era before IM. One very kind student said something like, “I’ll chat with you online!”)