Can Google take on Wikipedia with Knol?

Posted on July 25, 2008. Filed under: encyclopædia, Google, internet, Knol, knowledge, news, random, technology, Wikipedia, world wide web | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Google has launched a beta version of Knol (a unit of knowledge), a potential Wikipedia rival.

Google claims a Knol is an authoritative article about a specific topic. Anyone can share their knowledge by writing a Knol. In some ways, a Knol is like a blog post, but one that disseminates knowledge about a particular topic. A Knol author may choose to let anyone edit his/her Knol or prevent it from being edited. By default, moderated collaboration is enabled, which means someone can edit the article only if it gets the approval of the author. Like blogs, anyone can comment on Knols. And like blogs, a Knol may not always present neutral views on controversial topics. This is not that big a disadvantage because there are bound to be different Knols on the same topic written by different persons. Knol authors can also collaborate with others if they wish. Authors can also make money by choosing to include advertisements by Google AdSense. At the moment, Knols can be written only in languages that use the Roman script, but other languages will be included in the future.

Wikipedia works in a different manner. Anyone can create/edit a Wikipedia article but it would be reviewed so that false, irrelevant and unnecessary information does not get published. For articles on controversial topics, the neutrality can be disputed and it would be mentioned at the top of the article. Wikipedia articles exist in almost all languages of the world.

So, will Knol be able to challenge Wikipedia as the most used online encyclopædia? Whether it does or not, Knol is a welcome addition to the world wide web. We live in an age where instant access to knowledge is of paramount importance and more sources of knowledge would be heartily welcomed by netizens. Wikipedia would be my first choice. Which one would you prefer?

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