London, Jul 24: Internet giant Google has come up with a new online encyclopaedia to counter Wikipedia.
Users will be allowed to write articles on their own areas of expertise on the new free service called 'Knol', which stands for unit of knowledge. Google hopes that internet users will contribute to articles on a wide range of topics, from gardening and pottery to Byzantine art and neo-classical literature. Google insists that its new service differs from Wikipedia in many respects. The search engine pioneer says that, unlike Wikipedia that allows visitors to edit its pages, people will not be able to make changes or contribute to a person's knol without their permission.
The firm also says that knols written on the same subject will also remain separate and compete for the attention of visitors, and that the users will be allowed to give online feedback.
Knol web pages will also feature pictures of their authors, Google says.
"We believe that knowing who wrote what will significantly help users make better use of web content," the Telegraph quoted Udi Manber, Google's vice president of engineering, as saying.
"Books have authors' names right on the cover, news articles have bylines, scientific articles always have authors; but somehow the web evolved without a strong standard to keep authors names highlighted," Manber added.
Knol writers will also be able to make money from the service if they allow advertisements relating to their articles to appear on their pages.
Juergen Galler, Google's director of product management said: "The internet is huge, but still a lot of expert knowledge remains untapped. Knol provides a way for people to share their expertise with others - and get credit for their contribution."
The new service is part of Google's plans to expand its operations beyond its search engine facility.
Those wishing to write a knol may visit the website knol.google.com.