Today I posted this piece about Web annotation startup Reframe It, which believes Google’s Sidewiki looks and feels a little too much like its own Web annotation service.
Reframe It’s leadership knows seeing is the key to believing, so they cobbled together these side-by-side screenshots comparing their Reframe It technology with Sidewiki.
I encourage you to read the story on eWEEK, and then check out these pictures to judge for yourself whether the startup has a legitimate gripe. One IP lawyer seemed to think so.
Update: Reframe It added captions to each screenshot to underscore the similarities between the two applications. Some of you said you couldn’t clearly see the comparisons, do I Docstocced the file:
So, what do you think? Coincidence or too close for comfort? Based on these pics alone, I expect Reframe It to slap Google with some sort of copyright lawsuit if the two can’t come to some sort of agreement.
Google is pretty unapologetic thus far — it’s response was pretty much an eff you to Reframe It, as you can see from my piece (hint, hint).
While the similarities on the hood of both apps are hard to ignore, Google would likely argue that the ranking technology under its hood is where the real differences lie.
In any case, pairing a Web annotation service with the leading search engine puts Google at the head of the Web annotation long tail, of which Reframe It, Diigo, JotSpot and others are a part.
Google has the opportunity to carry or crush this long tail. I think Reframe It is feeling crushed right now.