“We’re in the early phases of moving from being an information engine to a knowledge engine” – Google
That’s a quote from the video below where Google explains a new panel they are adding to search. Called the ‘knowledge graph’ it is basically a mini-encyclopedia. See the panels in the images below.
This is a big competitive move for Google. Not only are they taking on Facebook with Google+, Microsoft with Google Docs, and Apple with Android, now they have Wikipedia in their sights.
Of course, Wikipedia will still serve a huge purpose for in-depth information, but you can expect Wikipedia to experience a precipitous drop in page views once people are getting their basic information from these panels.
It also puts Google in an interesting position. While this is a natural improvement in search it also creates a conflict of interest for them. One of the many they are currently facing, some of which are in the courts facing anti-trust issues.
Will Google devalue Wikipedia in favor of their ‘knowledge graph’?
Or, lower its ranking if people begin using it less?
Hard to predict, but notice that in the images above Google clearly (intentionally?) shows Wikipedia as the top result. That may not keep.