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Google challenges Wikipedia? December 31, 2007

Posted by Will in online tools.
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Google is apparently starting a new effort to encourage people to write authoritative articles on topics they know well. They’ve started inviting a selected group of people to try a new, free tool called “knol”, which stands for a unit of knowledge.

“A knol on a particular topic is meant to be the first thing someone who searches for this topic for the first time will want to read. The goal is for knols to cover all topics, from scientific concepts, to medical information, from geographical and historical, to entertainment, from product information, to how-to-fix-it instructions.”

Sounds like Wikipedia to me! Only there’s a twist. On Wikipedia, authors are essentially anonymous. Here, author credibility is apparently intended to be front and center.

More from the blog: “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.”

Here’s a link to the knol Google Blog entry. 

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