43 thoughts on “Google's Death Knol For Some?”

  1. Knol and Wikipedia are very different authoring models and as such cannot be compared. It’s more akin to Mahalo so it should be interesting to see what happens in the early part of 2008. Will Mahalo’s first mover status give them advantage or will the integration with other Google products (Gmail, Docs and Spreadsheets, Blogger etc) mean that Knol will be an easier content generation platform.

  2. Om, I think the jet lag is really affecting you if you can’t see the value in what Google is trying to do here. There is a reason why no professor in their right mind accepts wikipedia as a reference (or any encyclopedia for that matter). Google is trying to create a repository for peer-reviewed, scholarly articles, not an encyclopedia.

    You’re also completely off base with your comments on Ad Sense. People who will write knols (and their will be many) are NOT motivated by Ad Sense revenue. To the contrary, they’re motivated by peer recognition. They’re not professional bloggers surviving off ad revenue, like ahem some people. Yeah, they could start a blog, setup Ad Sense, promote their blog, setup a rating and peer review system, etc… but well, you get the point.

    The topic of Google and “don’t be evil”… well that’s another story altogether.

    Get some sleep. You’ll see more clearly in the morning.

  3. Hi Om,

    I hope that you had a good time in Paris. I think that knols will be more useful when used as decision guides. I think that innovation here is integration and simplicity. I agree with you that it would be nice for Google to find a way to integrate this initiative back with Wikipedia.

    The ranking of knol is an interesting open question. This is indeed a risk factor.

    What is really nice about knol versus mahalo is that knol seems much more open, focused and scalable.

    It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

  4. Yes, it is Wikipedia by Google. But it has better features for author to monetize written page, related search box and Peer review widget.

    I think it is great to have a better version of wikipedia and I am sure Google will do greater job in this area.

    I would certainly not advocate the monopoly, but you got to be smarter and quicker to kill the beast, other they stories will repeat itself.

  5. Despite the differences, I agree with Om that Google uses its market position to spread in every possible way. I have written my opinion about this happening at company level here: http://electronrun.wordpress.com/2007/12/10/googles-new-directions-microsofts-example/ None of us can argue that Google certainly has its own way of doing things. Even if it offers slightly different packaging to others the aim is certainly to dominate in every possible way.

  6. Has anyone ever used Mahalo? It’s garbage.

    There are no incentives at all to provide content, apart from spam, beyond the initial search result, for which you get paid 10 to 15 dollars, or at least that is what is stated at the site.

    The search results were useless on Mahalo.

    Knol is hopefully better, because people have an incentive to keep the knol pages up to date and relevant to rank high (and get high visitor and peer rankings).

  7. Saurabh Kaushik said:

    Yes, it is Wikipedia by Google. But it has better features for author to monetize written page, related search box and Peer review widget.

    I think it is great to have a better version of wikipedia and I am sure Google will do greater job in this area.

    I would certainly not advocate the monopoly, but you got to be smarter and quicker to kill the beast, other they stories will repeat itself.

  8. From Udi Manber’s post: “Google will provide easy-to-use tools for writing, editing, and so on, and it will provide free hosting of the content. Writers only need to write; we’ll do the rest.”

    This is what makes knols “special” – Google makes all the money off of it, while the authors get none.

    Also: “For many topics, there will likely be competing knols on the same subject. Competition of ideas is a good thing.”

    What topics are open to competition? Who decides that? If there are five knols on the same subject which shows up first in search results?

  9. Squidoo buzzles me. Techcrunch stated that they were crushed by Google earlier this year, yet compete shows strongly increasing visitor numbers.

    I’ve yet to find Squidoo pages on search with Google, so maybe those numbers reflect more Squidoo page creators visits to the site and really long tail searches on Google (which has about 650,000 squidoo lenses on the index).

  10. Wikipedia is by far most effective in getting folks real organized content.

    Google has been the eqivalent of an effective tag search so far (vs. Yahoo’s categorized search). Far less accurate than Wikipedia, Google mostly caters to business search and such.

    Wikipedia has become the center of the information world. In fact, for most useful terms, Wikipedia links are ranked in the first three. Indicating Wikipedia is a better first target than Google. Almost like people thought of Google vs. Yahoo five years ago.

    This is Google’s reaction for not getting taken over wikipedia and related sites. Other companies have tried exactly what is being proposed here (like about.com with experts), and Google itself tried it along with its notebook concept a few years ago. That did not take off at all. Pretty much the same thing happened with Google books, and many other attempts.

    Maybe Google can just start to host Wikipedia – in fact someone was saying that there was a proposal on this.

    Or better yet, Google can start to index the semantic web’s xml rather than making a Wikipedia copy.

    I think Wikipedia is a far better movement (something that can get Jim Wales a Nobel Peace Prize or something at some point) in organizing all information by everyone – for the good of all, by the people themselves.

    Om does point to something ominous for Google. The fact that it is starting to be recognized as a monopoly – with all its associated snags to come.

  11. There is a lot more to Knol than meets the eye. It provides a lot of opportunity, it will crush some competitors over time, and it might radically improve Google’s search algorithms:




  12. I really think Google is overstepping their bounds here. While I don’t think this’ll be particularly damaging to Wikipedia – they’re established beyond what Google could possibly undo – I do think that this is one arena Google has no business being in.

    All their other products (messenger, search, docs, and calendar) are still rivaled by fierce (although not always focused) competition. Really this is the first entry into their product line where they’re rearing their ugly monopolistic heads – they only have one viable competitor and to quash them would be a huge undertaking and very underhanded if they succeed.

  13. While I welcome the initiative, I already know it won’t answer any of the questions that really matter. It will be yet another great source of information, structured, probably written by people that are experts. But as will almost anything on the web, there will be too much of it. And pretty soon we need the Google Search engine and pageranking system to find anything on KNOL.

    I have found a much easier and better way to get answers to the questions that really matter. I use Google to find the address and phone number of a vet I rarely visit. But if I want to know more about something that really matters to me, I always turn to people. Friends, family, colleagues from work, people I know from the web, or my blog. Anyone. There are 2 reasons why I always get better results there.

    1. I trust the judgement of people I know or have interacted with before. Not only because they are knowledgeable, but also because they know me!
    2. Finding information is good, interacting with someone about it is better. I find that if I talk to a person I always gain more knowledge than simply reading about it.
      So KNOL will probably be great for some in-depth information, as is Wikipedia. But for stuff that really matters, who needs them. I’d always turn to people for that.
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  16. I hereby propose a philanthrophic movement to clip off google’s moneymaking greed. I would request everyone who thinks Google is getting Greedy and Evil, to install Adblock (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/10) and turn it on for Google Search, Blogger, Knol and basically any such nexus of google search + google content.

    As citizens of this free and open web, it is our duty to let the monopolists know that we care about fairness of internet. And it is our responsibility to take action so that they feel the heat.

    Hoping for your support..
    Let knowledge be free..

  17. And, I am dead serious when I suggest this….

    Please don’t take it as a troll jargon.. Think for once and take your stand .

  18. Time will tell if Knoll actually kills Wikipedia or not. One thing is for sure that if anyone, Google happens to be int he best position possible to do just that. Why ? Over 50% of Wikipedia’s traffic comes from Google.

  19. @ Saurabh Kaushik

    “I think it is great to have a better version of wikipedia and I am sure Google will do greater job in this area.”

    Judging from the ugly name (“knol”) I’m not so sure about this!! LOL Why not Gpedia? I don’t get it!!!!

  20. This “threat” to Wiki is no accident at all. Having possibly the best content on the ‘net matters not to Google if they can’t be monitized.

    And yes, squidoo should see the writing on the wall.

  21. Alright, there is something wrong with your posting system. Its chopping off my sentences from between paragraphs.

    My first paragraph says:

    Have you every considered why there are so many successful “free” websites around. Its because of advertisements. I doubt even wikipedia can survive without google, which in turn relies on ads.
    Aight, there is something wrong with your posting system. Its cutting off sentences in between paragraphs.

    I’m gonna quit if it doesn’t work this time.

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