Monday, December 17, 2007

Google launches a competitor to Wikipedia: Knol

Google is about to launch a new competitor in the online encyclopedia market: Knol. Knol, which stands for the half of "knowledge", will compete with Wikipedia, but has some specificities that will differentiate them.

Indeed, Wikipedia is the leader in this market. Wikipedia's encyclopedia is based on the contribution of different contributors that write articles and that complete/modify the existing article/definition, in order to get the most reliable and complete information as possible. The goal is to obtain the most complete and better information as possible.

One of the problem of Wikipedia is that it is not written by academicians nor professors, but by everybody, as long as he knows quite a bit about the topic.

Knol is also seeking to provide the most accurate information as possible, but will use an other trigger to have it: competition. Indeed, an article will be written by someone on a specific issue, and he will have to face the competition of other users writing on the same topic. The articles will be ranked by the visitors, which will allow Google to rank the content and offer to the visitor the best article in the first place of the research.

To flatter the ego of the contributor, Google will also show the picture and profile of the editor of the article. All of this aims to create a competition, and because of it, we should have an emulation allowing the encyclopedia to have quality information.

This project is very ambitious, as Wikipedia is a reference in the Internet world, and has already succeeded in building the most complete encyclopedia ever. Google's initiative is aiming to incentive contributors in order to recruit the best ones (if possible academic ones), to attract possible contributors.

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