Tag Archives | Knol

Google Needs Knols! Good Ones, I Mean!

knol-logoMy friend Andrew Leal points out to me that Google is trying to beef up its Knol user-generated reference work by promoting it on some of the most valuable real estate on the Web: At the moment, a Knol promo is running right below the search box on Google.com:

Knol Promo

The last time I looked at Knol in depth was almost five months ago. Back then, much of it was an embarrassing hodgepodge of outdated Wikipedia plagiarisms, self-promoting gobbledygook, and religious tracts. I see that Google has redone the Knol home page since.  But the first entry I checked, the first one returned when I searched for “Sarah Palin,” is still a ripoff of Wikipedia’s Palin entry–a bizarrely obsolete one that says there were rumors that John McCain might name her as his vice-presidential running mate, but it didn’t happen due to an ethics probe against her. (I’ll spend some more time with Knol in its current state and let you know whether it seems to have progressed much overall.)

Google is also running a contest to encourage submission of high-quality Knols, with a $1000 cash prize. Good idea, but the competition is called Knol for Dummies. Looks to me like part of the problem with Knol is that too many of its authors are dummies already…

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Google’s Knol: So Far, Not So Good

You could argue that it’s unfair–or at least unrealistic–to review Google’s Knol in its current form. After all, the Wikipedia-like service just went public a little over a month ago. It takes time to build a build a repository of the world’s knowledge, even if it’s less than comprehensive: Wikipedia surely wasn’t really ready for prime time six weeks after it was launched in 2001. As a Google service, Knol could end up being in beta for years.

On the other hand, as I said back in July, I think Knol is a neat idea. When it launched, it sported an oddball collection of entries that skewed heavily towards covering diseases. I was curious to see how much progress it had made in the interim. So I checked in today…and was startled by what I found. Depressed, actually.

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