Google has publicly opened up Knol. Google defines Knol as a “unit of knowledge”. Knol was originally launched in December of 2007 to a select audience. The project is headed by Udi Manber, Google’s vice president of engineering.
Knol is similar to Wikipedia. The difference is that entries must have an author that put their name behind the work. There is no anonymous posing on Knol. Readers can suggest changes to a Knol entry. However the author controls whether those changes get applied to the Knol.
Google is positioning Knol to be the first thing someone searching will want to read. That being said, Google has stated that they will not artificially give a knoll more page rank than their existing algorithms calculate. There can be more than one knoll for any given subject. Readers have the ability to rate knols they read.
Authors can add New Yorker cartoons to a knoll. They can also monetize a knoll by adding Google AdSense to the knoll. However the positioning of the ads is fixed. Authors are free to link out of the knoll to other sites (including their own web pages). By default the entries submitted to Knol are licensed under the Creative Commons license.
Currently Google has a couple hundred knolls created. For the most part the knolls are related to the medical industry. I have been wondering what effect this will have on blogging, and more importantly whether this will be a Wikipedia killer. It is very exciting to get in on the ground floor of a new system created by Google. I encourage you to create a knoll on a subject for which you have expertise. Good luck.
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