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Jan 29, 2009 - Spotting things you'll want to see today.

The Super Knol
Google hopes that Knol will overtake Wikipedia, unit by unit

So far the score is Economic Crisis 7, Google 1. The search giant recently came up short on seven services, with Google Print Ads being the most recent fumble. Left standing amidst the pileup is Google Knol, a mega-wiki believed to be inspired by Google's observation that Wikipedia is consistently at the top of its own page rankings. Knol has led a very quiet life for six months, in fact so quiet that Silicon Alley Insider recently said that it, too, should be booted. Google's defense has stood strong, with Matt Cutts staking Knol's territory along with Google's approach to holding it. Webware suggested that Knol is still in the game mostly because it uses the web 2.0 playbook of user generated content and therefore places a minimal burden on Google resources.

There seems to be plenty of time left on the clock for Google to make some plays. They recently announced a Knol for Dummies contest (although the $1,000 Grand Prize is worth only about 3 shares of Google common stock). They also made a big point of celebrating the 100,000th Knol. Meanwhile, in the coming months Knol will have to counter Wikipedia (who just revised their rules on public editing after two otherwise breathing US Senators were reported as being dead. Also on the field is a true hall of famer now hoping to make a comeback, Encyclopedia Britannica.


Re: Kindle
The new Amazon Kindle might be in the library by Feb 9

A mystery of the past holiday season involved the disappearance of the Kindle from Amazon's sales inventory. There was speculation that not even Amazon could keep a product in stock once Oprah Winfrey endorsed it. Now the NY Times Bits blog points to an upcoming Feb 9 Amazon news conference as the hint of a more plausible explanation. Everything from the location (New York's Morgan Library) to the speaker (Jeff Bezos) indicates that Amazon will be launching a new Kindle. Boy Genius published what they claim are leaked photos of the new product. Ars technica summarized the need for an improved mobile device that offers one service that the iPhone cannot - book reading.

Significant new features received a lot of speculation but no confirmation from Amazon. An early report by the LA Times of a color screen was quickly retracted as Crunch Gear explained that the cost of color e-ink would create a price outside of mass-market range. Digitpedia's prediction was typical of most - Amazon will release a better looking, easier to use product with an improved black and white screen.


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