Google Opens Knol For Knowledge-Sharing

Wikipedia opponent would distribute money, too

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We’ve noted time and time again the way in which Wikipedia receives loads of traffic from Google, and to be honest, there’s no clear sign that this will change.  But Google has gone so far as to launch Knol, a sort of would-be competitor.

Like Wikipedia, Knol encourages users create articles (also called knols).  A key difference is that one user (or a small group of them) is actually given credit and pictured at the top of every piece.  After that, other people are allowed to suggest changes, and the original authors can accept or reject them as they please.

Google Knol
 Google’s Knol Launches

This shouldn’t lead to endless bickering.  Instead, on the Official Google Blog, Cedric Dupont and Michael McNally write, "We expect that there will be multiple knols on the same subject," and users can write reviews to sort the good from the bad.

So why, aside from a desire to see their own name and face, would anyone abandon Wikipedia in favor of Knol?  A sort of interesting bonus is that The New Yorker magazine will allow Knol authors to add one cartoon to each article.  The real draw is this: "At the discretion of the author, a knol may include ads from our AdSense program.  If an author chooses to include ads, Google will provide the author with a revenue share from the proceeds of those ad placements."

It might not be long before people are demanding to see Knol, and not Wikipedia, at the top of search results, then.  We’ll keep an eye on where this goes.

Google Opens Knol For Knowledge-Sharing
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  • tyler

    Google should kick off with an article on search transparency. Something only they, ‘know’, something about but never seem to be forthcoming with..

  • http://hubpages.com/ Paul Deeds

    At HubPages we’ve been offering a very similar open publishing platform for almost two years.  In that time 30,000 different authors have produced over 150,000 articles.   Given our success and the success of Squidoo and others, it’s no suprise that Google wants to jump into the game.

    However, we think that we are ahead of the current version of Knol in several ways, 1) Discovery – we organize hubs around tags and topics, and have a complex rating system called HubScore that brings the best authors and content to the top, 2) Tools – for users that aren’t familiar with HTML, our tools make it drop dead simple for them to add and position photos, videos, and products to augment their text, 3) Community – we have a large and established base of authors along with powerful community features including forums, fan activity feeds, and requests (q&a), and lastly 4) Monetization — we give our authors the option to make significant income using AdSense, Kontera, and the Amazon and eBay affiliate programs (or they can turn ads off altogether).   Knol shares revenue, but they have a single small ad that is unlikely to make author’s much.

    I’m sure the Knol team will be working hard to add some of these things, so we’re going to have to work even harder to stay ahead of them.  We welcome the competition!

    Paul Deeds
    HubPages General Manager

  • http://marketingreviewonline.com/google-nemesis-review Mayank – Google Nemesis

    It would be tough for Knol to replace Wikipedia. Wikipedia has become the default choice for many to search for authoritative information, this mindset would not change easily now.

    Just like Google has become the default choice for all things search.

  • http://lillhawkins.com Lill Hawkins

    Am I the only one who thinks that Knol is less like Wikipedia and more like ezinearticles.com without the oversight of administrators and with adsense revenue going to the authors instead of the owners?

    I looked at Knol and all the elements of the article directories are there: alternate titles (keywords), a summary for more keyword loading,an author bio and you can add a link to your site at the end apparently. And, of course, publishers can reprint them if you let them.

    I’ve also noticed that the knols are starting to show up at the top of google searches. Odd, that, since knols have just gotten going. Wouldn’t you think they’d have to have some age on them to swim to the top of all the info that’s already out there?

    Call me skeptical, but I think google is just adding one more strand to their stranglehold on the World Wide Web. I’m watching to see if it flies or goes the way of google pages. Remember them?



  • http://www.warmfront.co.uk Grant

    There is much talk of knol ranking well in the same way that Wikipedia does, only if you do a search for ‘knol’ on google.co.uk it only comes up below the finance listing for Knology, below the news results for knol, below googlegroups and ironically below the Wikipedia entry on it!

  • http://www.theanaloguerevolution.com Funny_Tshirts

    I can’t really see what it offers over Wikipedia, the idea seems to be that the sources are more credible because it is harder to add content, this might help with the problem of vandalism or people putting incorrect facts up but how does Google know the people commenting really are experts? (truthful ones as well!)

    I don’t think it will be as up to date as Wikipedia because it is not as open, the original author will have to make the updates to their own page, they can’t be on it 24/7.


    It will be interesting to see how well it ranks and if it can be as prominent as Wikipedia, judging by Grants observation it doesn’t look like it!

  • http://hubpages.com/hub/Hubpages_Review Dark

    Knol isnt that great of a site. I know its run by google but it gets almost no traffic. Compared to Hubpage reviews and squidoo and other sites, Knol just doesn’t stack up.

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