Seems Google has turned its eyes on the Wikipedia space and has a spin that may get a lot of attention from knowledgeable authors.
They just announced a beta project called "Knol" - a unit of knowledge - that gets experts in various field to write for an aggregated collection of knowledge. Why sign on for this project as opposed to Wikipedia etc.? Well Google has smartly added bylines - their articles will reference the author which could have all sorts of future implications.
Who wouldn't want to be listed as an expert on a topic by Google?
"Our goal is to encourage people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it. The tool is still in development and this is just the first phase of testing. For now, using it is by invitation only. But we wanted to share with everyone the basic premises and goals behind this project," the Google Blog explained.
I have already had people ask me if I can get them on the beta - this one is going to be hot. GMail hot I am starting to think.... remember when people were selling gmail accounts on EBay!
"The key idea behind the knol project is to highlight authors. Books have authors' names right on the cover, news articles have bylines, scientific articles always have authors -- but somehow the web evolved without a strong standard to keep authors names highlighted. We believe that knowing who wrote what will significantly help users make better use of web content. At the heart, a knol is just a web page; we use the word "knol" as the name of the project and as an instance of an article interchangeably. It is well-organized, nicely presented, and has a distinct look and feel, but it is still just a web page. Google will provide easy-to-use tools for writing, editing, and so on, and it will provide free hosting of the content. Writers only need to write; we'll do the rest.
A knol on a particular topic is meant to be the first thing someone who searches for this topic for the first time will want to read. The goal is for knols to cover all topics, from scientific concepts, to medical information, from geographical and historical, to entertainment, from product information, to how-to-fix-it instructions. Google will not serve as an editor in any way, and will not bless any content. All editorial responsibilities and control will rest with the authors. We hope that knols will include the opinions and points of view of the authors who will put their reputation on the line. Anyone will be free to write. For many topics, there will likely be competing knols on the same subject. Competition of ideas is a good thing' the blog explained.