After seven months since it was announced, Google finally opens its Wikipedia-like web product KNOL to the public. I could understand why it took Google that long to launch Knol, for one it needs to populate the site first with relevant, enticing and interesting articles from its beta authors to make Knol appealing to the public. And so it did. Knol, currently has a slew of “authoritative” articles and the site certainly looks more a live site now.
Like we said during our first coverage, Knol is being touted as a direct Wikipedia rival. But there’s a direct difference between Knol and Wikipedia. Where as Wikipedia allows anyone to edit entries as a social collaboration feature, Knol is tweaking it a bit by infusing the “moderated collaboration” approach.
Meaning, users/readers can only suggest edits and modifications to the articles in Knol and it’s still up to the author to accept or reject those suggested modifications. Logically since the author’s name is attached to every article, they should have full control over their articles.
Now, other’s may see this feature as a flaw, while others may see this necessary. But in a “socialized” environment “collaboration” should never be moderated.
Wikipedia doesn’t have to worry about Knol. Despite the Google branding its not and will never be a Wikipedia killer. Knol is more of a “socialized”, free-for-all, anyone-can-be-an-author version of About.com.
One thing that could probably attract more would-be authors from contributing to Knol is the fact that Knol is giving them the option to serve Adsense ads into their articles. Authors get to earn, and Google gets to serve its Ad units.
Now, that would make everyone happy.