Interesting announcement from Google: Official Google Blog: Encouraging people to contribute knowledge
Google announces a tool (Knol) that’s not yet open to the public but appears to be taking on Wikipedia. The premise is different, but I think the goal is similar. They want encyclopedia like articles that are written by people in the community who know stuff about a topic. However, Google’s take appears to be to have articles that are authored by single people that will stake their own personal reputations on the articles. Though Wikipedia articles have a history, they don’t have a by-line. Knol articles do.
The likely scenario here is not that Knol will overtake Wikipedia, of course. The reality is that we’ll just have both. Seriously, Wikipedia has a ton of articles (more than 1 million in English, if I remember correctly). I don’t think that Knol, as described, will compete in sheer breadth. But, it is possible that the quality of articles that get prominent placement may be high. We’ll see when they release it.