Daily Debrief: Google's Knol takes on Wikipedia
I spend a lot of time on Wikipedia. It's bookmarked in my toolbar and almost without fail, there's a tab opened in my browser window, waiting for my curiosity to pique. I completely acknowledge the inherent limitations of the site: inconclusive entries, biased entries, missing entries, and anonymous authors. For the kind of research I do on the site (musicians, science questions, current/historic events), those issues don't bother me as I never need to source the data or refer to it in a professional sense.
When I first read about Knol, Google's entry into the user-generated content market, I was curious to know how the company planned improving upon Wikipedia's platform. As CNET News' Elinor Mills explains in Friday's Daily Debrief, Knol will differentiate itself on a few levels. For one, contributors to the site have to identify themselves. Secondly, there will be no primary landing page or site for these entries. They will simply appear in search results for the topic, based on popularity like the rest of Google search results. I'm all for competition, but I do hope that Knol is more than a half-baked idea from Google to stake its claim in the content marketplace.