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Quick Hits: Google Fires on Wikipedia from Grassy Knol


Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

The late 1980s were a simpler time for encyclopedias: Then, all you had to worry about was hearing that annoying kid on the Britannica commercials.

Now, along with Wikipedia, there's Knol, Google's (GOOG) response to the ubiquitous online guide. Wiki articles are entirely authored by users, which has generated no small number of complaints from spoilsports who insist that encyclopedias should be impartial, well-written and, well, factual.

But such protests seem downright wholesome compared to those faced by Knol: Some say that Google is depriving its partners of page views -- and therefore of ad revenue -- by favoring search results pointing to Knol.

Knol joins a growing line of Google's content properties, including YouTube and Blogger, which has many doubting Google's claims that it's not becoming a media company. But Google spokesperson Gabriel Stricker maintains that the search behemoth doesn't own copyrights to the content posted on Knol and won't incorporate the Google logo into the site. Knol, Google maintains, is simply a way to organize information generated solely by users.

Stricker then waved his hand and said, "These are not the droids you're looking for."

Google has always maintained objectivity in its search result rankings. Stricker supported that talking point, saying any Knol link that's reached the top has "earned [its] position."

In other words: To become the teacher's pet, it's best to be related to them.

For more on the wonderful world of Wiki, check out Hoofy and Boo's always astute report.

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