Google launches “knol” beta

Google launches “knol” beta

Google has entered the world of wiki

Google has begun testing its own version of Wikipedia, the knol project.

The knol project is yet more confirmation that Google may manage to infiltrate all areas of the web, and is a logical step for the firm to increase revenue with Wikipedia entries faring so high on its page rank search engine.

The project is an attempt to encourage people to contribute knowledge, said Google, and it will function similar to Wikipedia but with a difference that takes account of frequent Wiki criticisms.

Udi Manber, Google vice president of engineering, said that a knol will be “just a web page; we use the word knol as the name of the project and as an instance of an article interchangeably.”

Knols, unlike Wiki entries, will allow authors to build up a professional reputation by preventing articles from being edited by participants unknown to the author, and by disallowing the multiple contributions to a topic that Wikipedia permits. “We believe that knowing who wrote what will significantly help users make better use of web content,” said Manber.

“Google will not serve as an editor in any way, and will not bless any content,” Manber added, “All editorial responsibilities and control will rest with the authors.”

Google recognises that this means there will be competing knols on the same subject but indicates that that the outcome of this will be more credible postings. “Competition of ideas is a good thing,” said Manber.

Google will allow users to rate knol pages and leave comments, and will also allow authors to include ads on their pages. “If an author chooses to include ads, Google will provide the author with substantial revenue share from the proceeds of those ads,” said Manber.

After a knol is posted, the page will be ranked appropriately in Google search according to its quality. “We are very excited by the potential to substantially increase the dissemination of knowledge,” said Manber.

Clara Armand-Delille, Google corporate communications associate, said the reason behind the project is that “We want content to be owned, and authors standing behind their work.”

However, in a Wikipedia positing on Knol, Larry Sanger, Wikipedia co-founder, is quoted as saying, “the concept does not sound like a model that would attract many genuine experts.”

“I say that because the notion that anyone may write a ‘knol’ and be compared and ranked by ‘the crowd’—not by expert peers—is apt to attract relatively little notice from experts who are very careful about where they publish,” said Sanger.