According to "Encouraging People to Contribute Knowledge," Google has launched Knol, a Wikipedia competitor, in test mode.
Here'as an excerpt from the posting:
Earlier this week, we [Google] started inviting a selected group of people to try a new, free tool that we are calling "knol", which stands for a unit of knowledge. Our goal is to encourage people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it. . . . .
A knol on a particular topic is meant to be the first thing someone who searches for this topic for the first time will want to read. The goal is for knols to cover all topics, from scientific concepts, to medical information, from geographical and historical, to entertainment, from product information, to how-to-fix-it instructions. Google will not serve as an editor in any way, and will not bless any content. . . . .For many topics, there will likely be competing knols on the same subject. . . .
Knols will include strong community tools. People will be able to submit comments, questions, edits, additional content, and so on. Anyone will be able to rate a knol or write a review of it. Knols will also include references and links to additional information. At the discretion of the author, a knol may include ads.
Read more about it at "Google to Wikipedia: "Knol" Thine Enemy," "Google's Knol: No Wikipedia Killer," "Google's 'Knols' Aren't a Threat to Wikipedia," "Google's Know-It-All Project," and "Google's Units of Knowledge May Raise Conflict of Interest."