Google creates a new market and wreaks havoc on another

Google creates a new market and wreaks havoc on another

Summary: When they first announced it, I was certain Knol was simply a way for Google steal some of the attention away from Wikia search -- and I'm still sure that's what was actually happening. Google doesn't normally pre-announce applications months in advance.

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When they first announced it, I was certain Knol was simply a way for Google steal some of the attention away from Wikia search -- and I'm still sure that's what was actually happening. Google doesn't normally pre-announce applications months in advance. After a long wait, Google finally released Knol, and the blogosphere has been very active on the topic.

Most people don't believe this is a direct threat to Wikipedia -- and technically I guess it's not. You can create openly collaborative Knol's (Google defines that as a single unit of knowledge), but more often than not, they are closely moderated by the author since their name (and reputation) is permanently attached to it. Instead of anonymous, and potentially incorrect contributions, Knol forces people to identify themselves (or be marked as "unconfirmed"), and put their reputation on the line. This means higher quality articles that are less prone to error.

If you don't like an article that someone has created, give it a low rank and start your own on the same topic. That's right, Knol doesn't enforce a "one Knol per topic" rule -- another significant difference between the two services.

Even though Knol is not direct competition, it could very well suck the life out of Wikipedia indirectly. No, it won't happen over night, and yes, people who have been contributing to Wikipedia and are passionate about it will continue to do so. Unfortunately for Wikipedia, Google has the means to pay authors for their contributions. I wonder what's stopping someone from ripping off all Wikipedia content and profiting from it?

Topics: Collaboration, Google

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12 comments
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  • Reputation has 100% American bias for now

    I created a Knol today, but was unable to verify myself, as I don't live in the USA. For the moment, even though I have Gmail, amd on orkut, use Adsense and Google Reader, Google can not verify me on Knol.

    It's early days, but this is a big omission - not even OpenID is supported. I made comment on The Next Web at http://thenextweb.org/2008/07/24/for-whom-the-google-knols/ earlier today.
    David Petherick
    • Wikipedia could do same thing...

      restrict authors and editors to just certain knowledgeable users
      killerbunny
      • knol / wikipedia : winner forecast

        My experience as a serious editor on wikipedia tells me that the CONCEPT of Google's Knol is a winner. Wikipedia gives too much importance to procedures and less upon content.
        sanjiv1
  • RE: Google creates a new market and wreaks havoc on another

    I don't see this googlepedia threatening wikipedia in any shape or form. This is all a ploy by google to carve an extra online ad space for themselves and nothing else. Let's see how this turn out within the next couple of months:Googlepedia?( http://www.internetevolution.com/author.asp?section_id=466&doc_id=141423&F_src=flftwo)
    jamalystic
  • It will be hard to take marketshare from wiki

    Most of the younger kids I know (pre & early teens) don't even use google for "info", they go directly to wikipedia. For social sites & "fun" stuff, they flit around & change on a whim. For info, it's straight to wikipedia. It will be hard for google to push wiki out.
    jred
  • Google Knol: World Editor-in-Chief?

    May I respectfully submit people are missing the point? Google Knol is a direct threat to newspapers, magazines, journals and websites... see my post for my explanation of this pointhttp://www.precursorblog.com/content/google-knol-the-worlds-editor-chief-omni-publisher-can-you-say-dis-intermediation

    Scott Cleland Chairman, NetCompetition.org which represents broadband interests
    scleland9
    • I dont think people are missing that...

      I think that comparo is more obvious, actually. Whats interesting about this article is that it is focusing on something people might NOT have considered...

      How Googles endless profiteering and dominance strategy might threaten not only a commercial entity (that seems fair enough), but a not-for-profit global initiative that, in many ways, has been a ray of hope for humanity on the web (not exaggerating here - Wiki is proof that people actually will contribute to the pool of common human knowledge freely - even if it often has a lot of noise)
      mlambert8909
  • The better approach

    wikipedia's strength is the strong inter linkage between articles which only an online encyclopedia can provide that experience. google seems to have taken a conventional approach to encyclopedia. If I was offered a choice to buy a wiki or google cd of encyclopedia, I would choose the wiki cd any day.
    marees
  • Can wikipedia articles refer to google knol?

    or will this violate google's copyleft licensing model?
    marees
  • And why do we NEED a "wikipedia killer" exactly?

    Hasnt Google already monetized ENOUGH of the internet for themselves? Ive always been a tough critic of the wiki, but it now looks like a reliable old friend compared to this clearly commercial venture disguised, as usual, by Google as social activism.

    Of course people continue to eat it up - "Google gives everything away free man!" Sucker born every minute.

    I guess for all of the complaining about advertising people do, they really DONT mind it as long as they're "getting something for nothing".

    I wonder what will happen when advertisrs realize they arent really getting much (if anything) out of their spend and Google is forced to be more intrusive with the ad serving.

    Better hope by that point they dont have the complete monopoly hold on the entire internet that so many seem eager to hand them.
    mlambert8909
  • "Hasn't Google already monetized enough..."

    No. Their lust for power is unsatiable. Period.
    Mr_Wizard
  • I doubt this will kill Wikipedia

    The knol is an ok idea, but there is no reason Wikipedia cannot learn from Google and adapt. Wikipedia still has more articles and that is what matters most.
    T1Oracle