Friday, December 14, 2007

Wiki Rival: Transparency

Google is in the process of developing a rival to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that allows users to post entries with handles, effectively giving them a degree of anonymity when they post. On the upside, that means someone with intimate knowledge of a subject might be able to contribute even if that person has sensitivities about doing so in public. But Wikipedia also allows anonymous editors to change or delete entries.

It seems that the Google rival service would do away with both of these aspects. First, the service would promote bylined entries:

Google asserts that the Web's development so far has neglected the importance of the bylined author.

"We believe that knowing who wrote what will significantly help users make better use of web content," wrote Udi Manber, vice president of engineering, on the official Google blog.

Second, the entries would not be edited by other users but would rather accumulate. The most credible entries would emerge from Google’s search technology:

Entries can't be edited or revised by other people, in contrast to Wikipedia. However, other readers will be able to rank and review others' entries, which will then be interpreted by Google's search engine when displaying results.

According to the New York Times article "Google Develops Wikipedia Rival," Google’s project is in the beta phase. Google has a long way to catch up to Wikipedia in this area. Can they do it?


Carter said...

I would certainly like to see Google be successful in this venture. Competition makes everyone strive for a higher quality product. In this case, higher quality means more accurate, unbiased articles. Right now we need somebody to push Wikipedia around.

Shiv said...

This indeed is a good initiative. I only hope Google lives by its 'Do no evil' motto and not post ads alongside the wiki-pages.