Google infiltrates the knowledge sharing game

Google infiltrates the knowledge sharing game

By SiliconIndia   |   Monday, 28 July 2008, 11:44 Hrs
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Bangalore: Giving a perfect competitor to encyclopedia Wikipedia, Google opened its website Knol (http://knol.google.com) to the public on Wednesday. Unlike Wikipedia, where those who write remain anonymous, knol allows people to write with their bylines. "We are deeply convinced that authorship, knowing who wrote what, helps readers trust the content," said Cedric DuPont, product manager for Knol.

New York Times reports that Google's Knol - its term for a unit of knowledge - is a collection of user-generated articles on specific topics. Google said that the aim of the free service is to 'help people share their knowledge'. The company would not serve as an editor in any way or bless the content, instead, it would leave editorial responsibilities up to the author. But it will rank the entries according to its popularity to encourage competition.

It also plans to reward authors of popular posts by enabling them to profit from their entries, if they allow Google to place advertisements on their pages. The contributor can earn as per the number of page views the article gets.

Knol is considered as an attempt to boost the company's online advertising income by attracting some of the millions who use Wikipedia, which is non-profit and advertising-free.

Dupont denied Knol was designed as a 'Wikipedia killer', saying, "Google is very happy with Wikipedia being so successful. Anyone who tries to kill them would hurt us."

The highlighted knols on the site's front page were mainly related to health issues such as migraines or irritable bowel syndrome. Knol is widely perceived as a shift in Google's identity of 'organizing the world's information' to creating and publishing information that could potentially compromise its neutrality in organizing search results.

A service on knoll called 'moderated collaboration' allows the reader of a specific topic page to make suggested edits to the author or authors, who retain control over whether to accept, reject or modify changes before they are published.

While Wikipedia has officially welcomed Knol, Florence Devouard, the Wikimedia Foundation chair, wrote last December: "Knol is probably our biggest threat since the creation of Wikipedia."

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