Google Competes with Wikipedia

Posted: December 14, 2007 in Just Out!
Tags: , , ,

It seems that Google has started working on a new project; a new online knowledge base (similar to Wikipedia), where information is contributed by users. Google claims that they will not serve as an editor in any way, and will not bless any content. The project is still under development and testing, and it is currently named knol (which stands for a unit of knowledge). You can read more about that project on the official Google blog.

This is actually interesting, since Wikipedia pages seem to show up really high on the Google search results, no matter what you search for. I wonder how this will change, given the new Google knol. Will Google favor results from their own knol over those from Wikipedia, or will it be a fair game based on which has the more valuable information? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

  1. Amr Kabardy says:

    Well, after reading about that project on the official Google blog, I find it’s really interesting.

    I can imagine that the key difference between knol and wikipedia will be in the authoritative content. Anyone can add anything to wikipedia without knowing who is editing?! However, in knol they claim author will be known and listed with his/her knols. I guess this is really great and will give it confidence. Once, I heard that some universities doesn’t accept references from wikipedia in their researches!! (Is that true?)

    But for page ranks, does Google raise the rank of any of its pages because it’s just Google’s page? I don’t think so.. However, there are guidelines for raising the rank of your website in Google searches, but the algorithm is independent and handles all pages the same way.

    Here are some links (I didn’t read them all)…

    Sorry for too long comment 🙂 It’s a great post Eng. Amr

  2. Amr El-Helw says:

    Well, I partially agree about the authoritative content. Since the editor will be known, he/she has to be very careful about what to permit and what not to permit. This is good in terms of giving more credibility to the posted information. On the other hand, I think it can also be a disadvantage since the that single editor (for a particular topic) might reject any information that they personally do not agree with, so the topic might end up reflecting a single point of view.

    I’m not sure about using Wikipedia in research though. I have personally never seen a Wikipedia reference in any research paper. That does not mean that I am against using it, but for scientific topics, Wikipedia usually lists the reference where the information is obtained from, and that is what should be cited in research papers.

    About the page rank, I agree that the idea behind pagerank is that it assigns scores to pages only based on incoming and outgoing links. However, this is the basic idea that is well known everywhere. However, the actual pagerank algorithm that Google uses is not published anywhere, and therefore, it can contain any special cases that Google wants. Actually, there are already well-known special cases. For example, Google detects where a query originated from, and tries to put the results that come from the same region on or near the top of the list. So there is nothing to prevent them from putting results from knol on the top of the list as well.

    There is also a potential money issue here. I suppose the knol will also have the text ads that Google usually puts in some of their applications. Therefore, generating traffic to knol will bring them money, and to generate traffic, the best way is to put the results on the top of the list (and reclaim some of the traffic that currently goes to Wikipedia). What do you think?

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