In a variation of the old, "if it bleeds, it leads" axiom of sensational journalism, today's technology news is rife with reports of Google's new challenge to Wikipedia. The WSJ headline says: Google Targets Wikipedia... C/NET talks of a Wikipedia "Rival." Well, that's one angle I suppose, but it is not the right one.
Google's new "Knol" platform is not a Wikipedia competitor, it is substantially different from the Wiki platform and it seeks to accomplish different goals. Read the Official Google Blog post here. Then, read Scott Gilbertson's post on the Wired blog. Scott gets it right. Once built, Knol will be a great compliment to Wikipedia and I personally welcome the development. And I confess, I'm interested in what readers think of my writing, so a rating system makes sense to me.
I've noted before that I use Wikipedia several times a day, and this blog contains almost 150 links to that wonderful and comprehensive source. In fact, I am a Wikimedia Foundation donor and have urged my readers to consider modest financial contributions as well. But I will certainly contribute content to the Google platform, and I imagine that I will soon be a regular user. Hey, the web is maturing and there's plenty of room for continued innovation, and new approaches. Bottom line, I trust both of these organizations and based on my own experience, both produce fine products with my best interests in mind.