Google’s Knol Does Its Thing In Three New Languages

    October 30, 2008

Google’s Knol isn’t doing so well.  Despite being portrayed by some outsiders as a would-be Wikipedia-killer, the knowledge-sharing site has been more or less ignored since its launch.  Google’s solution: launch it again, this time in German, Italian, and French.

To be fair, Google’s always been good about translating its products and services into different languages.  Also, what’s unpopular in one country may not encounter the same reaction in another (compare Orkut’s market shares in the U.S. and Brazil, if you want), and the move follows a bit of a pattern since Street View has covered both Italy and France in the past couple of weeks.

Google Knol

Another big factor in Knol’s favor is the wobbly world economy.  The site’s revenue-sharing scheme should become more and more attractive if people are being squeezed by job losses and inflation.

But there are problems with Knol.  Robin Wauters writes, "[T]he site is often criticized for featuring articles that are simply not complete or downright inaccurate."  It’s lacking a lot of articles, too, and even Googlers have been known to go straight to Wikipedia instead of adding new blurbs (see a recent mention of Gaudi).

We’ll see what happens, then.  Just don’t count on Knol gaining some sort of international rock star status.