Knol in a nutshell

Google’s new Knol initiative in a nutshell:

  1. Let users copy and paste Wikipedia content (the license allows it).
  2. The content will rank good, perhaps even better than Wikipedia. (Any questions here?)
  3. Make more adsense cash (and give the users an undefined %).

Knol is destined to be a Wikipedia copy-and-paste clone plus a bunch of spam added on top. Plus a huge branding mistake for Google, who used to be the guys who send you to content, not who own content.

2 thoughts on “Knol in a nutshell

  1. Peter, a concise, witty and insightful summary. I hope you are wrong, and it’ll be more a place for experts to excel in educating people, but as you might say about Google, “the force is strong with this one…”.

    There is a key element in Google’s announcement that nobody seems to have isolated:- “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.” That was – “The 1ST thing when searching for the 1ST time”.

    First time. New search term has been entered by this user. So if I set a cookie or tick a box, I might never see that introductory explanation again… and Google is better placed than most to know what I have searched for in the past, isn’t it?

    I think this may be where a knol can serve a niche function – as a starting point (and with onward links that can inform further) for something that the search engine knows I don’t know about. In this case, I can foresee that the brief summary and onward links will be the default view, the detailed knol of information being visible only on the ‘first’ visit, perhaps being hidden and more compact subsequently, so that the onward links come to the fore (as will the Google Ads of course).

    In this manner, the author of the knol is more like the editor of a page that introduces a topic – but how the knol is ranked and rated and ultimately, listed in Google is the key unknown – along with the cut of the profits the author might take – and exactly what topics are going to rise to the top of the grassy knol first, and how affiliations might become key to an authors’ reputation… perhaps it’s time for me to make sure my Google Profile is up to date.

    Apologies for the lack of brevity.

    Regards, David

    PS: I’ve started a ning space for open discussion on this topic for any interested parties at

  2. Hello Peter,

    I am not sure that the license allows the Knol user to copy / paste. I am looking into this matter for the time being and will be reverting back to you. It will be such a shame that someone can make money of the countless who put the effort into a Wiki entry.


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