Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has made a move that competes directly with Wikipedia. The new Google product is called Knols. Knols are articles written by credible sources.
“The web contains vast amounts of information, but not everything worth knowing is on the web. An enormous amount of information resides in people’s heads: millions of people know useful things and billions more could benefit from that knowledge,” stated Google employees, Cedric Dupoint and Michael McNally on the Google Blog. “Knol will encourage these people to contribute their knowledge online and make it accessible to everyone.”
The articles all have the author names on them. This answers one of Wikipedia’s problems. No one knows who the individual is that writes the articles on the open source encyclopedia. There is a team of people that ensures that most of the content is accurate, but we still don’t know who the sources of the articles.
Another useful feature of Knol is that users can suggest improvements to the articles. Readers can make suggestions and then the author can choose to accept, modify, or reject them. Individuals can submit comments, rate articles, and write reviews.
Google also has a partnership with New Yorker magazine. Any knol author can use a cartoon from the New Yorker’s repository for their articles. These cartoons enable the knols to be more entertaining. It’d be cool if Google strikes a deal with Dilbert author, Scott Adams. There’s always a relevant Dilbert cartoon for articles.
Articles that are currently featured on Knol are Type 1 Diabetes written by Anne Peters MD/FACP/CDE, Lung Cancer by NYU thoracic surgeon Jessica Donington, Toilet clogs by The Family Handyman Magazine, and Tooth Pain by Noshir Mehta BDS/DMD/MDS/MS.