Google’s Wikipedia competitor, Google Knol, officially opens its doors yesterday. As per their definition, “Knol is an authoritative article about a specific topic”. Anyone can create their own knoll, but knols aren’t collaboratively written in the same way Wikipedia articles are. Instead, a single user creates and moderates a knol.
“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.”- by Udi Manber, VP Engineering, Google, in his earlier blogpost.
Knols incorporate strong community tools, which allow for many modes of communication between readers and authors. People can submit comments, rate, or write a review of a Knol. At the discretion of the author, a knol may contain ads from Google AdSense program. If an author chooses to include ads, Google will provide the author with a revenue share from the earnings of those ad placements.
Knols is decidedly different from Wikipedia, but the aim for Google seems obvious: to capture an authoritative place in search results for reference content that currently belongs to Wikipedia.