Google made headlines last week with its announcement of Knol, a soon-to-be-launched Wikipedia competitor. Here’s what you need to know:
- Knol is only open to a select test group right now, as it is still in the early development phase.
- Knol differs from Wikipedia in that it is designed to highlight authors and experts. Google believes that “knowing who wrote what will significantly help users make better use of web content.”
- “A Knol (unit of knowledge) 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. Google will not serve as an editor in any way. All editorial responsibilities will rest with the authors.”
- Knol’s other big differentiator is that it will provide potential authors with an incentive to contribute in the form of ad revenue. Authors will have the option of integrating contextual ads (served up by Google’s AdSense, of course). Any revenue generated from a particular page will be shared with the author (similar to how click-revenue on Google’s Blogger product is shared with the blog owners).
- Knol will include some of the best aspects of social media in that the platform is designed to foster discussion, collaboration, and cross-referencing. Anyone will be allowed to contribute to a knol, though attribution will be required for participation.
Some are already predicting that Knol will be the definitive Wikipedia killer. Others criticize Google’s decision to enter the content-publication space as being monopolistic. It’s hard to say at this point, since the public only has a few screenshots to view, but we’re eager to see what happens when Knol launches for the public. All quotes are from the Google Blog, where you can go for more information on Knol.