Search giant Google has picked a rather unlikely candidate with which to compete. According to a post on the official Google Blog, the company is developing what looks an awful lot like a Wikipedia competitor. Google says it kicked off testing for the service, which is dubbed "knol," earlier this week by encouraging "people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it." However, knol is still in development and is an invitation-only affair for the time being.
Unlike Wikipedia, knol is intended to highlight the author of the article and—if he or she so chooses—allow the author to reap the benefits by placing ads on the page. Google says it will provide authors with a "substantial revenue share from the proceeds of those ads." Knol will also focus on quality and accuracy by allowing users to submit edits, peer reviews, star ratings, and comments for individual knols. There will even be a system in place to rank knols by quality when they appear in Google search results.
Google has a rather aggressive stance on its plans for the tool. "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 company says. No time frame is quoted for the service going public, but judging by a picture of a sample knol posted by the company, it seems to be pretty far along already.