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Knowledge is Power!

Will Google Knol create a new economy for online authors?

Google. They keep doing this. Coming up with a large-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare events beyond the realm of normal expectations…

So, here is the next Black Swan from Google:- a highly improbable event that is unpredictable, will have massive impact, and which, after it has happened, we’ll all pretend we could have seen it coming. This is Google Knol - encouraging people to contribute knowledge.

Many mainstream media observers see this as Google’s a direct challenge to Wikipedia - a vandal-proof version - but this is a very blinkered viewpoint, and rather too easy for hack journalists to regurgitate: Google launches Wikipedia rival. I’m surprised the ‘For whom Google knols…‘ headline has not been coined yet. Oops, it just has been.

No, too simplistic. Knol is, and it is not a Wikipedia rival, because it is something different - it is, typically for Google, a whole new ball game. Authors will share revenue from the Ads that surround their content - but what content is found is likely to be that which is most popular, with content also measured by reader review. Unlike a Wiki, where the author is invisible (and often multiple) in a Knol, the identity of the author, is central to the authority of the content, with the author’s affiliation being cited in an early Google mockup.

From The Official Google Blog: Encouraging people to contribute knowledge:

“The key idea behind the knol project is to highlight authors. Books have authors’ names right on the cover, news articles have bylines, scientific articles always have authors — but somehow the web evolved without a strong standard to keep authors names highlighted. We believe that knowing who wrote what will significantly help users make better use of web content. At the heart, a knol is just a web page; we use the word “knol” as the name of the project and as an instance of an article interchangeably. It is well-organized, nicely presented, and has a distinct look and feel, but it is still just a web page. 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.

A knol on a particular topic is meant to be the first thing someone who searches for this topic for the first time will want to read. The goal is for knols to cover all topics, from scientific concepts, to medical information, from geographical and historical, to entertainment, from product information, to how-to-fix-it instructions. Google will not serve as an editor in any way, and will not bless any content. All editorial responsibilities and control will rest with the authors. We hope that knols will include the opinions and points of view of the authors who will put their reputation on the line. Anyone will be free to write. For many topics, there will likely be competing knols on the same subject. Competition of ideas is a good thing.”

The news came out on the Google Blog on the 13th Of December, with no major media announcement or fanfare. It just appeared, but it immediately was caught by my antennae, and by that of several commentators of note. Now, the mainstream media are picking this up, and there is a definite buzz in the blogosphere.

I have created a discussion space for authors at www.knolroll.ning.com and welcome your comments here, or there.

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Comment by Page on January 18, 2008 at 12:51pm
A friend of mine found out about Knol from ABC News Now. I create Chinese language learning audiocast / podcast on line, and I like this Knol concept. In the sea of information, accuracy and proof of the source is the key of knowledge. Will Knol be the filter for us all to save time from searching? Nevertheless, I still enjoy visiting book stores and keeping a study room at home.
Comment by Diplom Kaufmann Hinrichs - Siegert on January 1, 2008 at 12:37am
Hello there, nice work. I try to pimp it up a little with some nice, or not so nice keybord playings from the Richardstrasse 12. I will go online with my mediawicki private server for the interested folks, famaly and girls in 8 and the best of my writings (The goal is one article a day) will be found someday on the knol base.
When i follow my sceduled plan is the next a writing about "why i choose the name sunkcost for that TVB."

I love google and friends.
Comment by Leon on December 28, 2007 at 8:19pm
Hi Steve
The Humans species breathe to live and live to learn a little or a lot at a time, the one thing you can’t get ahead off is time its pace is constant one step at a time.
Rose-ology by Leon
Comment by Leon on December 24, 2007 at 5:27pm
Hi Mr. Griffith
I concur see posting from this morning answering skeptics.
Competitive intelligence is how we arrive at our present state, be it good or bad, negative or positive, and if fear is a factor don’t enter, just remember you are in second place again
Rose-ology by Leon
Comment by Arthur Griffith on December 24, 2007 at 4:52pm
You can be as skeptical as you wish, but that sort of thinking causes one to wind up on the sidelines watching. Google wasn't the first search engine on the Internet either, just the best. They have a reputation for excelling. You can either get in a boat, or you can sit on the bank and watch the race. I've watched a lot of races, but I find it more fun to get in a boat now and then.
Comment by Leon on December 24, 2007 at 6:40am
Competitive intelligence is how we arrive at our present state, be it good or bad, negative or positive, and if fear is a factor don’t enter, just remember you are in second place again
Rose-ology by Leon
Comment by Leon on December 24, 2007 at 6:36am
Competitive intelligence is how we arrive at our present state, be it good or bad, negative or positive, and if fear is a factor don’t enter, just remember you are in second place again
Rose-ology by Leon
Comment by ronak on December 24, 2007 at 5:38am
it all depends on how well knol supplies ingormation. knol is new while its competitor wikipedia is no not yet. entering in he market wont be easy. only word-of-mouth advertisement can make the entry gate for knol open. we have the example of GahooYoogle. as per my views, it wasn;t successful. about no. in list, one cannot say anything.
well, lets see what future have for knol.
Comment by David Shank on December 24, 2007 at 2:27am
This hardly qualifies as a "black swan" - Google's attempt to coopt the wikipedia phenomenon is blantantly derivative at best. The irony here is that Nassim Taleb's "favorite" saying is ""My major hobby is teasing people who take themselves and the quality of their knowledge too seriously ....." Seems to me all the "excitement" around knol is the very same thing.
Comment by Stacy Esch on December 21, 2007 at 8:30pm
Arthur, I agree with you completely.

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