We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
79,812 News Articles

Google launches Wikipedia-killer

Knol users can earn money from their articles

Google is going head-to-head with Wikipedia after finally releasing Knol - a user-generated online encyclopedia, which was first announced in December last year.

Google claims the service, which has been kept under wraps in private testing, is different to Wikipedia in a number of ways. Specifically, it encourages writers to use their real names and stand behind their articles. It will also offers users the possibility to generate income from their work via Google ads.

Check your broadband speed and enter our £4,000 prize draw by completing PC Advisor's Broadband Survey 2008

"Every knol will have an author, or group of authors, who put their name behind their content. It's their knol, their voice, their opinion. We expect that there will be multiple knols on the same subject, and we think that is good," Knol product manager Cedric Dupont and software engineer Michael McNally said in a blog.

Wikipedia, on the other hand, has a culture of anonymity in which contributors rarely use their real names, and no ads appear on the site.

In addition, Knol apparently will have more controls over submissions and edits than Wikipedia. In Knol, readers can suggest changes to articles, and the authors have the final word on whether to accept or reject the feedback. "This allows authors to accept suggestions from everyone in the world while remaining in control of their content. After all, their name is associated with it," the Google officials said.

"Readers will also be able to rate articles and write reviews of them."

In Wikipedia, anyone can make changes to articles and have them appear instantly online.

Although in the blog posting knols are described as "authoritative articles about specific topics, written by people who know about those subjects," a Google spokesman said that anyone can write an article.

"Google will have no advance knowledge of the content of a knol and we will not be doing editorial screening of content posted by users and authors," he said.

In addition, Google will encourage authors to use their real names, but will not require it, he said. Google will give authors the ability to have their identity confirmed via a telephone or credit card verification process. Articles penned by these authors will appear with a 'verified' stamp, he said.

Another difference is that in Wikipedia all content is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. This means that Wikipedia content can be copied, modified, and redistributed, as long as the new version extends those same freedoms to others and acknowledges the authors of the Wikipedia article used.

NEXT PAGE: More differences between Knol and Wikipedia


IDG UK Sites

45 Best Android games: top Android games for your smartphone or tablet in 2014 (24 are free!)

IDG UK Sites

How Apple, Adobe, Microsoft and others have let us down over UltraHD and hiDPI screens

IDG UK Sites

Do you have the X-Factor too? Mix Off app puts fans in the frame

IDG UK Sites

iPad Pro release date, rumours and leaked images - 12.9 screen 'coming in 2015'