12/15/2007

Google building its own version of Wikipedia

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google is building its own version of communally-constructed online encyclopedia Wikipedia, which consistently ranks among the most visited websites in the world.

The Internet search powerhouse is inviting chosen people to test a free service dubbed “knol,” to indicate a unit of knowledge, vice president of engineering Udi Manber said Friday in a posting at Google’s website.

“Our goal is to encourage people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it,” Manber wrote.

“There are millions of people who possess useful knowledge that they would love to share, and there are billions of people who can benefit from it.”

While Wikipedia lets visitors make changes to its online pages, trusting that people with accurate information will correct errors and misleading entries, Google is inviting folks to author their own articles.

Pictures of authors will be displayed on their knol web pages, according to a sample provided by Google.

“We believe that knowing who wrote what will significantly help users make better use of web content,” Manber wrote.

“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.”

Google hopes knols will be written on all conceivable topics and says it has no plans to edit or endorse content. Editorial responsibility will rest with authors, whose reputations will be at stake, according to Manber.

While Wikipedia merges topic entries in single articles, knols written on the same subjects will remain separate and “compete” for the attention of visitors, who will be able to give online feedback.

Chinese Company Takes Google to Court

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A Chinese company has taken Google’s China operations to court over what it says is an infringement of the Chinese translation of its name, “Guge,” according to court documents.

Beijing Guge Sci-Tech Co. was officially registered at the Beijing Municipal Industrial and Commercial Bureau on April 19, 2006, but Google didn’t register the name “Guge” in China until Nov. 24 of that year, according to court arguments that began in Beijing this week,

Beijing Guge Sci-Tech says the name has led to confusion and hurt its business.

Guge Sci-Tech wants Google change its Chinese name and pay legal costs, according to court documents. No specific sum was mentioned.

Google said that when Beijing Guge Sci-Tech registered its name there were already reports on the Internet that Google was going to use the Chinese name “Guge,” according to court documents.

Google says the name “Guge,” which is not a Chinese word, was created by the Beijing-based company. The Chinese characters mean “valley” and “song.”

About 1 in 5 IBM Employees Now in India

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

IBM Corp.’s expansion in developing countries shows no sign of relenting. The technology company revealed Friday that it now has 73,000 employees in India, almost a 40 percent leap from last year.

IBM did not provide updated figures for its work force in the U.S., which has held steady around 125,000 people in recent years.

Nor did IBM project its total head count. It had 355,766 employees worldwide at the end of 2006.

If the total has risen by the same rate as in 2006, almost one in five IBM workers now is in India, its second-largest center.

Like many other technology providers, IBM has rushed to take advantage of the lower labor costs India offers even for highly skilled workers. IBM’s base in India numbered only 9,000 people in 2003, but it was about 53,000 last year.

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