Back in December, we questioned whether Google was hoping to compete with Wikipedia by launching a new service into beta called Knol. Knol stands for a unit of knowledge, and it is a place where experts go to write articles (Knol’s) on a subject that they are familiar with. It is also be a place where people can go to get knowledge from these experts which makes it a haven for getting and sharing knowledge. This service is now out of beta and ready for the masses to explore.
Every Knol (article) will have either a single author or a group or authors, and now they are introducing something called “moderated collaboration” which will give all users the opportunity to suggest changes that should be made to a Knol. Whoever the primary author is will have say over whether the suggested change is made. On the Official Google Blog, they say:
With this feature, any reader can make suggested edits to a knol which the author may then chose to accept, reject, or modify before these contributions become visible to the public. This allows authors to accept suggestions from everyone in the world while remaining in control of their content. After all, their name is associated with it.
Suggesting changes is one way the community can get involved, and another is by reviewing a knol, commenting on it or rating it.
As we pointed out back in December when this project was announced, it does have some similarities with Wikipedia, but there are major differences as well. Google has no editorial roll whatsoever. Knol authors also have the opportunity to make ad revenue. There’s even the chance of having two knols on the same subject which means authors will be motivated to produce quality work if they want to make the most from it (money, and visibility).
Because of the revenue opportunities, will those who typically contributed to Wikipedia be more willing to contribute to Knol? It will be interesting to see how this grows, and if it can turn into anything like Wikipedia with the abundance of information they have.
Thanks for the tip Max!