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Google launches Its Paid Wikipedia Rival

Gordon Kelly


Google Launches Its Paid Wikipedia Rival

All had gone so quiet with 'Knol', Google's (potentially) paid Wikipedia rival, since it was first announced in December that I was beginning to think it dead in the water. Not so, with a Darwin-esque resurrection the site is now officially live!

Meaning 'a unit of knowledge', the key principle behind Knol is authorship. Each knol has its own author (or group of authors) which put their name, and in many cases picture, to their content. Deemed experts in their field, the authors can also choose to include ads from Google Adsense which will earn them money from each page view.

As for edits, Google is employing a system of "moderated collaboration" where readers can suggest edits but they will only become visible to the public if the author(s) of the knol accepts it. Get in first authoring a topic (and it is seriously lacking outside medical topics right now) and you're king then...

Of course this is a radically different (and certainly more capitalist) approach to the hippy vision of Wikipedia. On the one hand it is likely to reduce the amount of rubbish scribbled onto the site, but on the other it takes away much of the democracy and will certainly be a controversial system depending on an author's standpoint on more taboo topics such as religion, abortion, homosexuality, the Nokia N95 and the like.

Ultimately then I'm not completely convinced about Knol, but the web needs competition and - should it prove successful - a free alternative (even as a second source) to the ubiquitous Wikipedia is undoubtedly a good thing...



Matt G Baish

July 25, 2008, 6:52 pm

What's Darwinesque about a resurrection?



July 25, 2008, 7:15 pm

You'll need to watch the news ;) Let's be controversial and Wikipedia it ;)



July 25, 2008, 7:18 pm

My question precisely. Surely Lazarus would have been more obvious? I hadn't realised Darwin had been resurrected as well. Is he going to give a speech later?

The Mighty Ben

July 25, 2008, 7:28 pm

See what he did there? lol. Gordon is a great writer - I wish more journalists had a sense of humor. Btw, I'm confused by the name. I thought Knol was 'a vantage point from which one might shoot a president... may be grassy'. Let's Wiki that while we're at it.


July 25, 2008, 7:36 pm

@The Mighty Ben - Lovin' it!


July 25, 2008, 7:46 pm

Ah, Wikipedia. The only place that someone can write anything, and have it accepted as fact. Winner.

Hans Gruber

July 26, 2008, 2:06 am

"Ah, Wikipedia. The only place that someone can write anything, and have it accepted as fact. Winner."

I thought that applied more to Religion (The Bible etc), the mainstream 'News' and anything where getting people to unquestionably believe what you're saying is important (Scientology, politics etc). I think Wikipedia, whilst far from perfect is a great resource for general encyclopaedic information.

No encyclopaedia, especially something written (or rather edited or moderated) by the general public (and internal unaccountable wikipedia staff), is meant to be the sole source for any reliable research (in authoritative context or not). It's a starting point or quick reference to basic facts and as to accuracy, that would rather depend on the subject. Scientific information should tend to have better credibility than some bio on a public figure for instance so if you're just curious about a subject like astronomy or what chaos theory is about, then you're going to come away with a better knowledge of the subject than if you didn't read a wiki. It doesn't make you Einstein but at least you'll be better informed so as to appreciate the subject and further sources of info more. If you're serious about something, then you'll go away and read a book or some papers or even do some real world research yourself.


July 26, 2008, 4:40 am

@Azro - I agree with you completely. My we have some smart readers today ;)

Matt G Baish

July 29, 2008, 4:51 pm

Oh THAT Darwin. Doh!

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