Thursday, 24 Jul, 2008 Technology
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Google Launched Knol to Challenge Wikipedia

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Google Launched Knol to Challenge WikipediaRecently the number one search engine, Google, has unveiled to the public Knol, the company's website that allows experts to write, express ideas on their fields of expertise. The main difference between Knol and Wikipedia is the authorship. On Knol the public will have the actual names of the authors, whereas Wikipedia allows anyone to edit anonymously, just tracking the IP.

"We are deeply convinced that authorship - knowing who wrote what - helps readers trust the content," outlined Cedric DuPont, product manager for Google's Knol.

According to Mr DuPont, the entries on the public website, called knol.google.com , are dubbed "knols".

The name "knoll" is a nice, very simple word to remember, and it's part of knowledge," said Udi Manber, the head of search engineering at Google.

In December Google performed a limited test of its new service. It is interesting to note that the service has almost the same tools that single blog pages have. However, Knol encourages experts to reduce the amount of content on a topic to a single page, which is not updated chronologically.

"What we want to get away from is 'this last voice wins' model which is very difficult if you are a busy professional," said Mr DuPont.

The search engine looks forwards to rank entries by popularity in order to encourage competition. For a better understanding, let's check an example: this knol on lung cancer features lots of details on the topic, along with images and a glossary. If you check the upper right corner, you may notice the name of the author Jessica Donington, and her title, Thoracic Surgeon NYU School of Medicine. As other contributors publish on lung cancer, Google will rank related pages in accordance with user ratings, reviews and the number of people's references to certain pages.

Knol does not edit nor endorse the entries and those who visit a specific page will not be able to edit information without the permission of the author. In case readers consider any content objectionable, they can notify Google.

Knol uses the so-called "moderated collaboration", where any reader of a certain topic page may suggest edits to the author, who can choose whether to accept, reject or alter changes before publishing.

Google was able to reach an agreement Conde Nast's New Yorker magazine, allowing Knol's publishers to use one of the magazine's cartoons in each entry. In addition Google will allow writers to run ads on their articles and will share the income.

Mr DuPont mentioned that the primary goal of Knol is not to provide competition to Wikipedia but to serve as a main source of authoritative information that anyone can use to edit Wikipedia articles.

"Knols will fill gaps on what we have on the web today. That is what we hope," he added.

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