Monday, 17 December 2007

Google announces 'knol' reference tool

Google announced a new initiative on their official blog last week which is targeted at challenging Wikipedia as an online reference tool. This story is now being covered widely in the worldwide press, including the Sydney Morning Herald.

Named 'knol' by Google (a unit of knowledge - geddit!), the development is planned to develop into a social reference site where users can contribute information. There will be no editorial control by Google and therefore articles will rely on the reputation of contributors and a voting system by users to help push the 'best' articles to the fore. Contributor details will be published, unlike on Wikipedia, and potentially they could earn revenue from traffic visiting their pages.

Google has posted an image from a typical page that may be posted on 'knol', although at present access to the new tool is limited during its testing phase. However, this is clearly a challenge to Wikipedia if it takes off and the 2 different systems of generating knowledge from the masses will come under close scrutiny and comparison.

This is another move by Google to secure more traffic from the web and also possibly a reply to Wikipedia's move to launch a new search engine in 2008.

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