If we were Jimmy Wales, we'd have bought a bullet proof vest long ago. Google has just set Jimmy up the bomb; Announcing 'Knol', a human powered index of knowledge which seeks to rival Wikipedia in accountability, and thus accuracy.
Knol will focus on credit for authors who "own" pages within the system. Write a bad page, lose your reputation. Write a better page than one which currently exists, and knock it out of the top spot. It's free market dynamics and modern credit reporting all rolled into one and applied to encyclopedia style information. Google, for it's part, seemingly intends to be hands off in the management of Knol, foregoing any oversight structure similar to that in place at Wikipedia or Mahalo.
While we find this all super interesting, we're going to stop short of prognosticating about the death of Wikipedia. Other industry pundits are calling it "a game changer" and "huge"; We've decided to wait until Monday to predict Wikipedia's imminent death. It's called journalism, look it up.
Oddly enough, there is no current Wikipedia entry for "Knol". Maybe we should pitch in and create one?
[via Paris Lemon]