Britannica president Jorge Cauz is very displeased with the way Google has been displaying pages from Wikipedia on top of its SERPs. Mr. Cauz even attacked Google’s algorithm saying that for a top search engine such as Google, bringing Wikipedia as the first link in most of its SERPs undermines the capability of their search algorithm. Interestingly, while Mr. Cauz was attacking Google and Wikipedia, he announced that Britannica online 2.0 is ready to roll out, and among its new features would allow users to edit, enhance, and contribute to the online encylopedia.
Interestingly, while Mr.Cauz was putting down Wikipedia for having “plenty of cracks on it in terms of the quality”, he however explains Britannica 2.0′s features as:
“What we are trying to do is shifting … to a much more proactive role for the user and reader where the reader is not only going to learn from reading the article but by modifying the article and – importantly – by maybe creating his own content or her own content.”
In other words, Britannica online is “remodelling” its online encyclopedia into something like Wikipedia with a slight difference, among which is the pre-approval of contents or edits by Britannica’s staff or freelance editors before changes or contents are carried out on the Britannica online site. Likewise, all changes that will be done in Britannica online will also be reflected in the printed version of the encyclopedia.Those who are planning to contribute to Britannica 2.0 will need to register first on the site before they can make edits or upload their contents that will appear side-by-side those articles authored by Britannica’s paid contributors.
The question now is whether Britannica 2.0 online could become as popular and as widely used as Wikipedia? For one thing, if Britannica does this right, students and researchers will most likely turn to their site for a more authoritative content. But then, coverage-wise, the more unstructured Wikipedia could prove favorable for them than Britannica.
If Britannica 2.0 becomes succesful with this new feature, hopefully Mr. Jimmy Wales would not mind seeing Britannica references side-by-side with Britannica 2.0 on top of Google SERPs.