In the middle of December Google quietly announced that they are working on a new project called Knol and already started to invite authors. "Knol" stands for a unit of knowledge and the tool will allow authors to submit articles about various topics, thus creating very much the same knowledge sphere as Wikipedia provides. But in case of Knol, each page will have a definite author and can be monetized with ads (with money being shared between Google and the author). Moreover, "knol"s will be guaranteed the first place in corresponding Google searches. It is expected that the monetary incentive will allow Google to lure a lot of active wikipedia contributors over to the new project, thus boosting Knol and undermining Wikipedia at the same time.
The scary though there is that Google indeed may become the one and only world knowledge supplier by replacing Wikipedia with Knol.
Vladimir Stemkovski - IBM jStart, Emerging Internet Technologies