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Google Knol Finally Out for Wikipedia?

Yesterday, Google announced its Knol project publicly. Its a Wikipedia-ish content system, in which authors can contribute about anything and get a share of revenue generated by their articles. In this way, it can be compared to Adsense.

Moderated Collaboration

The main disadvantage of Wikipedia as a content site is that anyone can contribute to the contents without the intervention of the original author of the page. This means anyone without appropriate knowledge can add or edit anything on a Wikipedia project. So, there can be truckloads of errors on each Wikipedia page.

In Knol, each of these articles are 'collaboratively moderated'. That means, any new writer can edit or add content, but only the original author can moderate it.


The advantage of Knol is that the authors, unlike in Wikipedia, get paid for their content. We can soon see many authors making serious money with Knols they write. This is a revenue sharing system, and any Knol you write makes money for Google. Google shares the income generated with you.

Within a year or so, Knols will see high ranking on Google (without doubt). And that means your articles can become easily popular.

Wikipedia Killer?

Is Knol a Wikipedia killer? Many in the blogosphere ask this question these days. We really don't know the answer, but can only speculate.

For one thing, there are many content sites, such as,,, blog networks like B5Media, Suite101, etc. All these content sites have revenue share system or outright payment system in place. Still, they didn't succeed in stealing traffic away from Wikipedia.

The trouble with search today is that, Wikipedia is itself regarded as an authority and there are hundreds of thousands of people that search in this way: 'keyword Wikipedia'. They are actually looking for content on Wikipedia, and maynot look at anything presented by any other site. Some may even go to Wikipedia and use its search feature.

Hence, it is highly unlikely that a new site will take away traffic from Wikipedia.

On the other hand, Knol is a Google project. And it can rank very high in search results for all major search terms. In such a case, a Knol page may rank above the Wikipedia page on the same subject.We have to see the effect of this in the future. It may make Knol one of the top visited sites beside Wikipedia. However, remember the fact that there are many forgotten Google projects, such as Google Base, Google Keywords, Google Web Albums, etc., and there is the chance that Knol may fall into oblivion despite all buzz.

Effect on Other Sites Such as Blogs

Knol is not an opinion-oriented site like blogs. Its just a content site. It has only relevant content, written by knowledgeable people. You can't find opinions there. If you are looking for honest reviews, opinions, and thoughts, then blogs are still where you get them. I believe, one should check for facts as well as peoples opinions before making a decision.

In such a case, the blogs should sustain, and continue to evolve.


This is only a primer to Knol, and I haven't tested all the features of Knol yet. I am in the process of doing that. I will post a fresh article, once I have fully set up my Knol profile and wrote one or two Knols myself; await it. In the meanwhile, please type in your opinions.


Googles Announcement of Knol
Log in to Knol

Related Entry:

Google Knol First Impressions

Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008


  1. I think you're mistaken about how similar Knol is to Wikipedia. You said "Its a Wikipedia-ish content system, in which authors can contribute about anything and get a share of revenue generated by their articles." Neither of these are true of Wikipedia! Most of what is contributed to Wikipedia is summarily and immediately deleted. And there is no Wikipedia revenue, let alone revenue-sharing. It's a non-profit supported entirely by donations, and contributors get nothing but a lousy sense of accomplishment (and a lot of writing experience).

    Your response to the question "Is Knol a Wikipedia Killer?" is "We really dont know the answer." I think that we do. Knol won't even make Wikipedia blink. I wrote more on my blog The Road to Black:

  2. Ginkgo, thanks for your comment. I very much appreciate it. Let me clarify my side. I said "wikipedia-ish" means 'like wikipedia' And the sentence would be "Knol is a content system like wikipedia, in which (Knol) people can contribute on anything and get paid. But you notice that obvious grammatical error, and being grammar-finicky, I can't let that in. So, I put 'Wikipedia-ish' only in that Knol is a content system.

    You are most likely true in that Wikipedia may not be affected by Knol at all. I have also made that speculation citing other content systems like blog networks,, etc. But we should not forget that Knol is a Google product, that means it's the son of the Web God. So, we have to wait and watch what really happens. In fact, it is even speculated that Wikipedia will get a huge hit, since most of its traffic comes from Google, and Google can bypass it well...

    Thanks a lot. You have a great blog here. All the best blogging!



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