Finally Google’s Knol is launched (after months of waiting). It’s basically all about putting the author back into the publishing process, something that has been lost in the Wiki-verse.
You can never tell how these things are going to pan out until the uneducated marauding masses get involved and try to make some money out of it, so it is far too early to tell whether Knol is going to be a serious content provider or not. However, I am sure it won’t be long before academics are comparing Wikipedia and Knol pages. In fact as I type this someone out there is probably comparing two pages and hoping to make a bit of a media splash. Unfortunately I will have to wait for Knol’s ‘Webometrics’ page to appear before I can make a comparison with any sort of authority.
One last point. As Danny Sullivan emphasises, this time Google’s product is known as ‘Knol’ not ‘Google’s Knol’. Is this an attempt to hide the Google brand as we begin to suffer Google fatigue?
Google have annouced that they will be releasing (at some point in the future) Knol, a tool that will enable users to write articles on topics they are hopefully knowledgable about and want to publish:
Our goal is to encourage people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it.
The incentives to participate are the inclusion of your name, rather than the virtual anonymity of wikipedia, and you will be able to place ads on your articles if you wish to make some money.
It not surprising that Knol is already getting a lot of coverage in the Blogosphere, due to it being one of Google’s babies, but it is by no means original. Whilst it looks as though Knol will have a better facilities and provides the users with more rights to their content, in essense it is pretty much the same as Helium.com. Whilst Helium has some good articles, for the most part they are very poor, and I think the same will be true of Knol. Whether Knol is a success will depend on the ranking system and whether enough people get involved.
Personally I don’t think Wikipedia has anything to worry about yet, although Helium will have to up its game.