Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What's Knol? Let's check Wikipedia... It's 1.0!

I guess you have heard of Knol, the recent Google initiative in the area of user generated encyklopedia?

It didn't take long before Wikipedia had an article on Knol.

Personally I see two main differences between Wikipedia and Knol. Both of these somewhat counteracts the general "2.0"-trend as I see it:

One author/editor per article
Knol will, as I understand it, have one author per article. The idea is obviously to make it more transparant who wrote it, and thus increase the credibility of the article.

Wikipedia, on the other hand, have a more collaborational approach to articles. It is basically open for anyone to add and edit the information in an article. To me that adds value. More than one view will be represented in an article, and the whole community can contribute with knowledge.

Get paid by ads
Knol will have ads on each article, and the author will get income from the ads.

This will create a marketplace for the best (most used) words of course. Authors would probably strive to get popular words to write about. If you are driven by the potential revenue from the ads you would not like to write about some obscure, niche, word.

Knol is a standard encyclopedia
Together this two aspects makes Knol very much a standard encyclopedia to me. Just as in a printed encyclopedia the authors gets paid to write an article, and is to a very high degree responsible for the content.

Knol is more Web 1.0 than 2.0?
So - so far I do not see the level of collaboration in Knol that would make it a good collaborative approach. Yes, the set of articles (knols) is collected through some kind of crowd-sourcing. Just as Wikipedia. But the individual article is to a high degree controlled by a single editor.

Just as Web 1.0. A set of web sites, individually owned and loosely coupled through links.

Now, you can probably expect a set of social functionality. Such as the ability for readers to rank articles. But I still expect that there will be one article around each topic. Or? What do you think?

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