Today @ PC World Google Takes a Crack at Wikipedia with Knol

One significant difference between Knol and competing services is that authors will be given the option to place Google ads on the pages they manage and receive revenue from those ads.

The author of a page can also limit what other users can and can’t modify on their page. A comments section will always exist, allowing users to weigh in on the page, but actual modification of the bulk of the content can be completely restricted by the author and owner of the page. Will this create wars between experts of similar topics? I wouldn’t bet against it.

Behold, Google Knol! It’s like Wikipedia, but with ads! And bias. Oh, and sans any conciseness or encyclopaedic qualities.

Much has been made of Wikipedia’s “credibility” issues. Personally, I worry about anyone who can’t figure out that Meriwether Lewis’ full name was not Meriwether Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabadoo, that donkeys are ideal pasturemates for goats, cattle or C.H.U.D.s, or that Wikipedia is a very useful tool for survey knowledge but not to be used as a scholarly reference.

Despite these occasional snort-worthy edits, I love Wikipedia for its one-stop shopping standard and democratic nature, which tends to balance out the editors’ political slants. Why would I want to sift through five or six (or likely hundreds) of entries on a simple topic to get the general info I needed? For a company that traditionally offers time-saving tools, Google seems to have goofed with this one.

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