Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Google Introduces Knol

Google have finally introduced it's new service Knol. According to the tagline give on the site a Knol is a unit of knowledge and it is an authoritative article about a specific topic. Actually Knol is Google's answer to Wikipedia.


[You need to click on the image to enlarge it]

The Knol project is aimed at sharing information. One can login to the Knol site using their Google id and start posting. The authors of the knols can take credit for their writing, provide credentials, and receive peer reviews and comments. Users can provide feedback, comments and related information. An author can choose to write on any subject ranging from literature to history, from arts to science and the list goes on.

It's a brainchild of Udi Manber of Google and was announced on 13th December, 2007. The beta version was made public on 23rd July, 2008. It started off with a hundred or so articles mostly written on health and medicine.

All knols are licensed by default under the Creative Commons CC-BY-3.0 license (which allows anyone to reuse the material as long as the original author is named), but authors may choose the CC-BY-NC-3.0 license (which prohibits commercial reuse) or traditional all rights reserved copyright protections instead.

There are a couple of disadvantages of using Knol, firstly the Knol "nofollow" outside links and secondly it pretty slow. For a new user it would take some time to get used to the interface, but there is a good help section available at your service. Another drawback to users outside US is that to verify their name they need to provide their credit card details, the other method of verification by phone is available to only the residents of US. Although this is not mandatory yet this is a major disappointment.

I have used Knol myself and was not quite satisfied with it. Personally I don't think that it would replace either Wikipedia or mainstream bloggin. It has a long way to go when the regular bloggers would see it with respect.

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