I was made aware yesterday that Google has been working on their own version of Wikipedia since December. The system, named Knol is set up in a similar way, but there are a few changes that may end up making the new competitor an even more valuable resource. According to their webpage, “A knol is an authoritative article about a specific topic.” Their service, discourages anonymous article authors. Instead, the Knol team hopes to encourage subject matter experts to submit information. To do this, a verification process has been put in place which verifies your name with provided (and registered) credit card information. An additional verification system has been put in place that does the identification check over the phone. This gives authors a higher level of impetus to write what is the truth. Additionally, Google will be paying article writers with the advertisement money from their Ad-Sense ads. Additionally, the service will allow people to comment on a written article and make suggestions to the original author to improve the article. This way, the author stays in control of what they have written, but can accept alterations to their work. Google has made a point to say that they will not be performing an editorial screening of a given post. I’m assuming that they will monitor posts for pornographic and other questionable content.
In terms of current content, a large majority seems to be medical related. I’m sure as people start finding out about this service, there will be a wealth of information. You can find the page here.