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Google launches rival to Wikipedia

Latest update : 2008-07-24

Online encyclopedia Wikipedia now has a serious competitor: Knol, launched this week by Google. Wikipedia has about 9 million articles in more than 200 languages and is among the most visited websites in the world.

Google has launched its own version of communally constructed online encyclopedia Wikipedia, which consistently ranks among the most visited websites in the world.

The Internet search powerhouse went live late Wednesday with a free service dubbed "Knol," to indicate a unit of knowledge.

While Wikipedia lets any visitors make changes to its online pages, trusting that people with accurate information will correct errors and misleading entries, Google lets folks author their own articles.

"Every knol will have an author, or group of authors, who put their name behind their content," Google product manager Cedric Dupont and software engineer Michael McNally said in a posting on the Google website.

"It's their knol, their voice, their opinion. An enormous amount of information resides in peoples' heads: millions of people know useful things and billions more could benefit from that knowledge."

People get to post their pictures and pedigrees in knols and are able to designate who can contribute to their postings.

Most knols featured at knol.google.com on Thursday dealt with medical conditions but included insights regarding unclogging toilets and improving leadership skills.

Google is the world's most used Internet search engine and a proven master at mining revenue from online advertising targeted at those making queries and using its free Web-based services.

Luring Wikipedia users to its own community-created online encyclopedia promises to be another rich vein of ad income for the California firm.

Wikipedia is consistently ranked among the world's top ten most popular websites.

Date created : 2008-07-24

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