Google will soon launch its Knowledge Portal which is in more ways than one similar to Wikipedia. Codename: Knol, which stands for a “unit of knowledge” will mobilize the power of individidual web citizens to populate its knowledge portal with relevant and authoritative information/article about their field of specialization.
Google’s Knol is currently in “by-invitation-only-beta” with several people already invited to try out Google’s new product.
Explaining Knol further, the new knowledge portal is aimed at covering all possible branches of knowledge that anyone can think of (very Wikipedia-ish), from scientific concepts to medical information, geographical or historical facts, entertainment and product information to the more direct how-to-instructions.
So, anybody can actually be an author in Knol. Actually it is the basic premise on why Google is developing Knoll – to empower the author in every one of us. Additionally and which I think is a very important thing to highlight is that Google will NOT in any way act on editorial capacity to whatever is published in Knol. Basically its a free for all, write and edit your own article kind of thing. You can just imagine how happy spammers would be once Knol is opened to everyone.
The next question to ask is, if Google will not have its hand on editing and conducting QA of the articles to be published in Knoll, how can it ensure that the articles to be published are authoritative and actually came from reliable sources? The answer, Google is relying on everyone’s reputation which would be put online.
Expect duplication of article topics as Knol gets into full blast. Google will not prevent duplication of articles but instead will encourage competition of these articles. What? Is Google trying to build a web portal of spams, unreliable and lame articles?
There’s got to be some level of control in the publication of articles in Knoll, unless Google wants to populate its knowledge portal as fast as possible, even to the extent of creating a “useless and unreliable” portal.
Can Knol beat Wikipedia in the community content creation arena? That remains to be seen, and we will definitely take a closer look into Knol as soon as it gets open to the public.