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Google Unveils Rival To Wikipedia

Google Unveils Rival To Wikipedia

Google is currently working on a project that is set to become the first real rival to Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia.

Google is a name synonymous with bettering someone else’s idea. But we should certainly not be the ones complaining, as they steam roll the competition they continue provide us with more user-friendly and lets not forget ‘free’ services and applications.

A new Google service, dubbed “Knol,” is set to compete with the Web’s largest data base of reference work, Wikipedia. The firm revealed that the new website project will invite individuals to write “authoritative articles” on their areas of expertise.Google hopes that Knol (the name derived from “knowledge”) articles will cover “all topics, from scientific concepts … to entertainment.”Significantly, the project will see Google help generate new editorial content, a process its executive have previously said it is “philosophically opposed to.”In a Google blog posted last month, Udi Manber, Vice President of Engineering wrote,

“The key idea behind the knol project is to highlight authors. Books have authors’ names right on the cover, news articles have bylines, scientific articles always have authors — but somehow the web evolved without a strong standard to keep authors names highlighted. We believe that knowing who wrote what will significantly help users make better use of web content”

As on Wikipedia, the content will be free to access. However, one major difference is that Knol’s authors will be able to attach advertising to their work and take a share of revenues.

Where as Wikipedia has only one entry on an each specific subject, Knol will have many written by different authors, each competing for popularity. Like many social networking-style sites, Knol will also invite readers to participate by rating the quality of entries and by adding “comments, questions, edits, additional content.”

Google Knol To Rival Wikipedia

Google Knol To Rival Wikipedia

Another way, in which Knol differs from the defining characteristics of Wikipedia, is that the contributors to Knol will not be able to contribute anonymously and will not be able to edit each others’ work. Knol is currently in a test phase but is expected to be opened to the public in the coming months.

Jimmy Wales, the Wikipedia founder who recently launched a rival search engine to Google’s, questioned whether Knol would be able to generate enough “quality content”. He also suggested that Knol articles would lack balance.

“They are not going to allow collaboration and aren’t going to go for Wikipedia’s neutral style,” he said.

However, anonymous and sometimes malicious edits have threatened to undermine Wikipedia’s reputation.

In a malicious attack John Seigenthaler, Sr., the founding editorial director of USA Today, was linked to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy by a Wikipedia article. He quoted the online encyclopedia as an irresponsible haven for, “volunteer vandals with poison-pen intellects.”

This summer, it emerged that a host of blue-chip companies had altered their entries on Wikipedia in an attempt to cover up embarrassing episodes in their histories.

The discovery was made by WikiScanner, a site that traces the source of changes to the world’s largest online reference work by matching edits to a database of the unique IP addresses of the computers that were used to make them.

Machines belonging to organizations including Wal-Mart, Disney, Sony, the British Labor Party, the CIA and the Vatican had been used to rewrite entries, it was found.

In October Wikipedia, which relies on donations for funds, was visited by 107 million people, or a third of the “active global Internet population”, according to Nielsen Online, the analyst. That made it the eighth most-visited online destination.

Google’s search engine was the world’s most popular site, with more than 260 million users — though its own reference work, Google Scholar was only fifteenth in its class, with about 4.5 million users.

With all the rivalry and competition, you’d think Google may take a step back to bask in the wealth of their popularity, but no, they are not stopping there. Moving away from their roots in Internet search, Google recently opened a new front against mobile makers such as Nokia by unveiling a new operating system for handheld devices.

Last month it was confirmed that Google will bid against groups likely to include AT&T for a portion of America’s airwaves that could be used to roll out a wireless broadband network.

These projects pitch Google against more new rivals in fresh sectors.

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