Thursday, July 24, 2008

Google Knowledge Base: Knol.

I've created my own Knol as a test.
Knol doesn’t rely on just anybody to create its collection of knowledgeable articles. You get to be the author, the buck stops here byline on a contribution, and if you write it, you kind of own it. Unlike Wikipedia, which it is compared to, Knol has a commercial bent. You get to run ads, too, and, in theory, make some money off of your expertise. It’s not a new concept, but it is a Google concept, and that’s about all it takes for the world domination theorists to come out of the woodwork. But, does it have legs?

After months of teasing and internal testing, Google officially launched its eagerly-anticipated online encyclopedia announced in December . The service dubbed Knol aims to organize the collective knowledge of Internet users into a searchable, browsable service that has been compared to Wikipedia. However, this is where similarity with world's famous online encyclopedia stops. At first glance, Knol feels more inviting and Web 2.0-like, which may attract those put off by the academic appeal of Wikipedia. But, ultimately, it will come down to content and Google thinks it got it right with Knol.

"Knols are authoritative articles about specific topics, written by people who know about those subjects," explained Knol product manager Cedric Dupont and software engineer Michael McNally in a Google blog post Wednesday. You will not have to be a rocket scientist to post a knol because everyone can become an author. And you also get a chance to earn some money on content you post, if you opt to run.

Similarly to the Facebook culture, Google will try to persuade authors to use their real names (although this will not be a requirement) and to stand behind their work, unlike Wikipedia where mostly anonymous authors post articles. Google says it will provide optional author identity confirmation via telephone or credit card verification. Verified authors will have a "verified" stamp added to their knols.

With Knol, multiple authors will be able to write about the same topic. "The key principle behind Knol is authorship. Every knol will have an author (or group of authors) who put their name behind their content. It's their knol, their voice, their opinion. “We expect that there will be multiple knols on the same subject, and we think that is good," said Google.

It remains to be seen if Knol will have more fact-checked content than stuff on Wikipedia, where entries are sometimes gamed for nefarious purposes, limiting its efficacy at times. Readers can suggest edits to a knol but its author always remains in charge able to accept, reject or modify a reader's suggestions before their contribution becomes visible. Google thinks this fact alone can mean a world of difference to the authority of its offerings. Readers will also have the opportunity to submit comments, rate or write a review of a knol. - tgdaily

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