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Will Google Knol kill off Wikipedia (and many webmasters)?
Wikipedia competitor from Google?

 5:52 am on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google's official blog announced "Knol"


which appears to be a Wikipedia-style system, allowing contributors to write articles.

Will this mean the death of Wikipedia?

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.



 6:14 am on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

It might not replace wikipedia, but if it takes off (at all), it'll drain some traffic from them along with sites that monitize content.


 7:22 am on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Don't think so - I am generally not impressed by the quality of Web 2.0 projects that rely on people working for nothing.

This works well for wikipedia, because people do it "for a good cause" (making knowledge accessible to everybody) and because nobody makes money on it.

But why should you do it for google? I think it is more likely that YouTube will fade to insignificance rather than Google Knol will perform very well.


 9:18 am on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

The reason you might want to contribute to knol is twofold if I read the article correctly. Fistly, unlike wiki, your name will be published. If I can get the name of my websites appearing in knol then that makes me happy (financially happy I hope).

Second, the article says that adverts can be put on the pages and the author gets a cut of the revenue. Thinking about that, it sounds good. If I get a few articles in knol, the income from the ads has the potential to be good.

It seems that Google is attempting to challenge wiki with a similar version of wiki but monetising it with ads. Is that good? Don't know, but it sure beats having wiki web pages appearing as number 1 in the serps with me getting absolutely nothing from it. Those wiki articles are relegating my pages to a number 2 slot.


 9:44 am on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

my personal view is this :

Google will ultimatly follow in yahoo's footsteps.
The main reason is shareholder value. They going to continually need to innovate to generate shareholder value and the main source of that innovation will come from high revenue idea's or idea which produce the most advertsing spin.

Give it a couple of years and you will have
Google travel
Google finance like yahoo finance not the current one
Google Games
Google Jobs

and im not saying this to googles detriment but the company will grow and there seems to be lots of area's for it to move into seeing though it is in such a good position.

Is it not that each staff member has a certain amount of time allocated for research each week?


 10:02 am on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google appear to be trying to do two different things here. The first is to create some sort of academic journal, just more open than the usual sort. There's certainly a gap in the market for such a site (which I've been thinking about trying to fill), but I don't see how it could possibly work without some editorial input.

The second seems just to be reinventing the web, allowing people to submit articles about whatever they like. Now I'd certainly take time to create such articles if I thought they would gain a priviledged position in Google's search results, but if that were the case they'd just be dominated by 'MFK' pages.

I noticed from the example that there's a distinction between 'comments' and 'peer reviews'. If Google can get this to work - if they can create a network of peer reviewers who will properly judge the content of a page - then the idea might take off.


 11:01 am on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Could KNOL go the same way as DMOZ? People creating MFK articles, and then attempting to become official reviewers?

What I find disheartening is that Google still gives the impression of a being a company run by geeks, rather than being professionally managed. I would expect something of Google's size to have a corporate website, with links to foreign language sites, products, corporate news, product status, etc. In short a site from which it would be possible to navigate to anywhere within the Google world. But it's a hodgepodge of sites and blogs which to me seems very unprofessional and reflects badly on the way Google is organized. The way this announcement has been handled is a case in point.


 11:32 am on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Is this not more like Squidoo than Wikipedia, re the revenue sharing, and didn't Google re-rank a lot of Squidoos pages earlier this year?


 1:28 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

They seem to be making a big thing of the ability to get a byline. Who would that appeal to, when you can already do that on your own websites?

User-contributed content is always going to be troublesome and unreliable, and of dubious benefit to the internet as a whole. You need to know the source in order to judge something. Just consider the numbers of fake reviews that are doing the rounds at the moment, for instance. So the real question is, how closely are Google going to examine the credentials of people who write these knols?

Once testing is completed, participation in knols will be completely open,

If all you need is an email address, that's open to as much abuse as Wikipedia or anything else. I notice they use the example of a Stanford University Director, with her picture, but will that be the norm?


 2:31 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

If Knols were to get a boost in the SERPs (or a special spot on each SERP) because they're Google-hosted, that would be very wrong.

[edited by: Leonidas at 2:33 pm (utc) on Dec. 14, 2007]


 2:52 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think Google is going down a bad path here. The results are already filled up with google properties. So now I have to beat this and wikipedia. Wikipedia is at the top or 2nd on a lot of terms now. This means that some searches will have the first 6 results filled with 2 results from the main company that makes something and 2 results from each of these dictionaries. But it does mean if you happen to get to the top you won't have competition below you.


 3:06 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

notice on the pic how google will be putting ads there. You do the work, they get the money. I bet that if Wikipedia started to put for the founder's benefit, people would feel like losers and stop contributing.


 3:12 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Just f@#$%ng great.

Right now, in any competitive niche, if you type "widgets" in G$$gle, what you see above the fold is:
* 9 or 10 commercial (paid) results
* 6-7 "non-commercial" results

Out of non-commercial, 1 or 2 is Wikipedia.

So competition is basically for 5 out of 16 spots.

On lots of widget searches, out of these 5: 1 goes to manufacturer, 1-2 go to large Magazines, 1-2 - to large shopping comparison sites. I also see Yahoo! pages pop up here and there. Throw in a Google-owned "wiki content" site, and we are done with "free" SERPs.

As an eCommerce site owner that has a site on page 1 above the fold, that makes me very happy. As a large content site owner - very concerned.


 3:23 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

This works well for wikipedia...

"Works well" is relative. Corporations and politicians have been caught changing wikipedia content to their benefit. High schools and colleges don't allow wikipedia as a cited reference on submitted papers...

I think it will be very difficult to ever build a credible site by the "let's hold hands and sing Kumbaya" approach.


I wonder if Google will develop some type of fast-track DMCA submission approach for authors who submit to Knol? The content is certainly going to be copied & pasted many times without proper credit within days after appearing on Knol.



 3:42 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Failure preprogrammed (like so many other Google projects except Search, Adwords, and Adsense).

People will contribute to Wikipedia (and keep using WP) because they trust in the free/charity approach. They know already that Google is a corporate, and that their contributions will actually be monetized.

Also, spam will make KNOL pretty useless. Either webmasters will be trying to get into KNOL to display/feature their own business, and/or they will try to monetize through ad placements. (Think blogspot.com for a split-second.)

Nice try, though.


 3:42 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

farmboy, I understand that the concept of wikipedia seems dubious - but do compare the quality of wikipedia with the one of other encyclopedias. You will learn that wikipedia is far from being perfect - but certainly an extremely successful project and probably the best English and German encyclopedias around. With other languages coming along.


 3:45 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Count me as a skeptic, for two reasons:

1) Google will be competing with significant numbers of high-traffic sites that have already built communities of contributors: e.g., Wikipedia and other wikis, "experts" sites, TripAdvisor, and so on. Granted, there may be some migration of contributors from other sites to whatever's currently new and cool, but what's to keep fickle contributors from losing interest and wandering off when something else becomes new and cool?

2) Knol is a sideshow for Google (at best), and I have to wonder whether Google has the long-term commitment to make it work and keep it working. Unlike, say, Wikipedia, TripAdvisor, or Suite101.com, Google's reputation and very existence don't depend on committing the resources and energy to make the idea a success.


 3:55 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm with you, EfV - besides, google's strength has always been in areas where it connected publishers and users. Until it started to buy companies like blogger and YouTube, where it provides platforms to pubishers. However, I still wait for these projects to become as profitable as one could expect from the exorbitant prices G paid for them.

I would rather say: Stick with the matchmaking between content and user, Google - don't make the content, use it.


 3:59 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Don't like it. These type of projects used to sound fun and useful, exciting and interesting... Flush w/ possibility to help people. Now it feels too corporate and boring.

Before everyone else was on the internet, surfing was so much fun. Now, although there is a lot of stuff out there, probably more created in a day than was the full internet in the 90's...yet it's so boooring.

I used to be able to surf for hours of enjoyment. Now other than picking up email and getting the news, I can't wait to turn off the computer.

Koombaya was possible in the old days. Today "user"-generated content takes the root of the word user...iow, USE people for "corporate-cash-generation".

Anyone else feel the same?


 4:16 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

1) Google will be competing with significant numbers of high-traffic sites that have already built communities of contributors: e.g., Wikipedia and other wikis, "experts" sites, TripAdvisor, and so on.

Yes. I'm wondering whether this will actually do anything to increase the amount of user-generated content in the SERPs, should it become successful. Perhaps it could just split it in two, or perhaps divide the exposure of these websites.

After all, there's a limit to the proportion of people who are really interested in contributing to the internet in this way, and a limit to the amount of time they have to do so.


 4:31 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well, at least now we know what to answer when n00b's ask:

Where should I submit articles?

This is just going to be turned in to a free-for-all, with site owners submitting "articles" intended to draw traffic to their sites, gullible work-at-home moms posting articles they get from "free article" sites (following the advice of a $59.95 e-book...), etc.

Oh. And lots and lots of articles about little blue pills.


 4:57 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sounds like in a few years Google won't even need the rest of the web.


 5:22 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have to give it to Google...IF they can get morons to make their content for them AND reap serious ad rewards from the people doing it, that is genius on Google's part. I bet they are sitting back snickering...thinking heck, if they are dumb enough to write all our stuff for us, get nothing out of it, and WE (Google) reap serious bucks from, why not? NOW, if Google did NOT put their ads on the pages, I could then respect them, but as it is I don't. They are just wanting to use people...

"don't be evil?"

Using people and taking ALL the rewards/profits, to me, is "evil." Just MHO.


 5:22 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sounds like in a few years Google won't even need the rest of the web.

I'm sure that's what they hope.

We know how well the concept worked for Prodigy and AOL.


 5:23 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Think AOL and DMOZ...

'nuff said.

norton j radstock

 5:24 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I hope they do -Wikipedia is so intellectually impoverished that I am surprised it even appears in Google results.


 5:31 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Will Google Knol kill off Wikipedia

Yep, as soon as Orkut finishes beating up MySpace and Facebook.


 5:35 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Can't they just buy wikipedia?


 5:44 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm not usually a Google naysayer, but this seems doomed to fail.

1. The rationale behind knol is dubious at best. "We believe that many do not share that knowledge today simply because it is not easy enough to do that." I'm sorry? Have you seen one of your tiny properties called Blogger where, in under 2 minutes, I can begin posting my "knowledge" to the Web?

2. Google saw all the money they're not making from general knowledge and information sites (since most don't run Adsense) and say, "Hey, how do we grab 50% of all those potential revenues?" This is the easy answer.

3. "Google will not serve as an editor in any way, and will not bless any content. All editorial responsibilities and control will rest with the authors." In other words, every existing commercial site that Google already indexes will simply repurpose their millions of content articles as "knols" and be done with it. How Google will display one Insomnia knol over another isn't explained in the article. With hundreds of insomnia general information articles to choose from, is this going to be another popularity contest run by 'bots?

4. Publishers don't like their search engines competing directly against them in their arena. If Google goes down this road too strongly, you'll see a lot of publisher pushback from the big names.


 6:09 pm on Dec 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think aleksl hit it on the head - this cuts that much further in to the area for organic SERPs that we're all hoping to show up in.

Remember how this all started? Googlebot comes and scrapes your site. You allow it in robots.txt because you know that letting this bot read your whole site will let you be listed in Google search results in exchange.

Now they're taking everything they've learned and using it to push down that second part of the equation.

Suppose that from day one Google had said "We're going to list you in our search results but we're also going to encourage people to write something better than what you have, and we'll list them first."

I think their search wouldn't have gained traction quite the same way it did.

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