in Technology

Google Knol — The new online source for knowledge

Google just released a new web application called Knol. It is used to make it easy to share knowledge through article and in-depth guides. The service puts a strong emphasis on authorship, and every piece of information has one or more names behind it. From the announcement:

Knols are authoritative articles about specific topics, written by people who know about those subjects.

An article may look like the following, which is a guide on how to backpack.

How to Backpack

How to Backpack

Much like Wikipedia, it is possible to make changes or at least propose them, since it is possible to modify the permissions for the written articles.

Collaboration permissions

Collaboration permissions

Support for Adsense is also built-in, which makes it possible for authors to actually make money from the content they publish on the site. If any significant amount of money will be generated by this is another question.

It is very easy to begin writing a new Knol. The interface looks like the following and features a light-weight WYSIWYG editor.

Write a new Knol

Write a new Knol

Knol might become a competitor for Wikipedia in the future, but I see it not as a competitor, more an enhancement to the online knowledge base. Since there is a real person behind each article, the contents is consistent and could be very reliable if written by a person knswledgable in the particular field.