Wikipedia may dominate the Internet for references and encyclopedic knowledge, but Encyclopedia Britannica dominates the classroom and is hungry to take it online. Encyclopedia Britannica is creating a new online version of their service to include user-generated content. Anyone will be invited to contribute, edit, and enhance their Encyclopedia Britannica experience. The new website will be rolled out in the next 24 hours according to Encyclopedia Britannica President Jorge Cauz.
Not only did Jorge say that his company is taking on Wikipedia, he also dissed Google in the process.
“If I were to be the CEO of Google or the founders of Google I would be very [displeased] that the best search engine in the world continues to provide as a first link, Wikipedia,” stated Jorge in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald. Oh, snap! “Is this the best they can do? Is this the best that [their] algorithm can do?”
Encyclopedia Britannica has been around for about 241 years. Any changes that are made online will be reviewed by staff and freelance editors before the changes are reflected on to the actual site. Jorge aims to have a 20 minute turn around time to update the site with user-generated changes. Some of the changes will be added to the print version of the encyclopedia–which occurs after year two years.
“What we are trying to do is shifting … to a much more proactive role for the user and reader where the reader is not only going to learn from reading the article but by modifying the article and – importantly – by maybe creating his own content or her own content,” added Jorge.
On the Google-Wikipedia relationship
“I think it would be impossible not to look at Wikipedia when one goes to Google. It’s the most symbiotic relationship happening out there,” stated Jorge. “It’s very much used by many people because it covers many topics and it’s the No.1 search result on Google. It’s not necessarily that people go to Wikipedia.”