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Google unfurls less laughable Wikipedia

Knol is short for knowledge - honest

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Google has unleashed its Wikipedia killer.

Back in December, the search engine cum world power announced an anyone-can-edit online encyclopedia it insists on calling Knol, and this morning, with a post to The Official Google Blog, product manager Cedric Dupont and software engineer Michael McNally opened things up to world+dog.

Yes, Google is going head-to-head with Wikipedia, the cult that once saved it from extinction. But unlike Wikipedia - where Jimbo Wales hides his crazed cohorts behind anonymous accounts - Knol asks that you put your name on whatever you write.

"The key principle behind Knol is authorship," Dupont and McNally write. "Every knol will have an author (or group of authors) who put their name behind their content. It's their knol, their voice, their opinion. We expect that there will be multiple knols [grassy ones too? - ed] on the same subject, and we think that is good."

Others can edit your knol - short for "knowledge," apparently - but not without your approval. "We are introducing a new method for authors to work together that we call 'moderated collaboration,'" the Goolgers continue. "With this feature, any reader can make suggested edits to a knol which the author may then choose to accept, reject, or modify before these contributions become visible to the public."

All in all, a more sensible setup than Wikipedia. If people across the globe are posting opinions to your site, it's good to call them opinions. But Wikipedia has its advantages. Most notably, its easier to make fun of.

You can see the Knol here. Zapruder is just outside the frame. ®

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