Google Opens Knol For Knowledge-Sharing

    July 23, 2008

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.