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Oct 02

Google Knol Logo

It was being touted as a Wikipedia Killer, but “Knol – a unit of knowledge”  seems to have died a painful death so to say. No one uses knol, i didn’t ever remember whether the URL was google.com/knol or knol.google.com , They both redirect to the subdomain though.

Knol was supposed to be the first place one would go while searching for a particular topic, but i am unimpressed. I searched for computer graphics and got pages about women in the computer industry and computer buses , ports etc. If you cant find a topic in Knol, then knol isnt so great, is it ?

Wikipedia had welcomed the entry of Knol into the online knowledge sector, it had said the more the free content, the better. However it seems that Knol seriously lacks on content and content quality. Also the images on Knol did not have separate pages like Wikipedia and had no individual licensing information.

There was also criticism to the Knol from other quarters, people had said that Google might try to fudge rankings to ensure that Knol ranks higher up in the search rankings. Google however dismissed all such allegations.

Knol also scared the media industry, a lot of people in the industry said that Google is slowing switching over , first it was a data searching company, then it became a data organising company, and now its a data generation company seriously threatening a lot of media houses.

For the time being though it seems like knol isn’t used by all :P

5 Responses to “Whatever happened to Google Knol ?”

  1. Michael McNally Says:

    You ask “Whatever happened to Google Knol ?”.

    Well, we are an early beta, but in our first ~2 months we’ve gone from having about 300 pages on the day we launched, to several tens of thousands now, and increasing daily. We’ve gone from supporting one language, to five languages. We’ve added a lot of features, and continue to upgrade the product steadily. Content quality and quantity will improve with time.

    Regarding your specific comment – “the images on Knol did not have separate pages like Wikipedia and had no individual licensing information” — I’ve duly noted that as a bug / feature-request.

    Cheers,
    Michael McNally
    (engineer on knol.google.com)

  2. Ankur Banerjee Says:

    I think the only reason why Google started Knol is because they wanted an alternative to Wikipedia from which they could earn ad revenue. They saw the HUGE amount of traffic Wikipedia was getting. They also saw that Wikipedia was non-profit and has stated multiple times that they didn’t want to put any kind of ads on their pages. Google was being nothing but greedy when they started Knol, it the hopes that it would corner at least some bit of the online encyclopedia market and then start putting their ads on it. Since Google OWNS Knol, they wouldn’t even have to share ad revenue with anyone else. Google is Evil (or becoming so each and every day).

  3. WiseTechie Says:

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for visiting our blog and reading our feedback and comments. Good to see that content at Knol is increasing pretty fast and that you support 5 languages now. But i sincerely think marketing could be a little better, i mean there is no buzz around Knol anymore (not good for a user generated content website).

    Thanks for noting my concerns about images and licensing info. Licensing info. is a very important thing (as the youtube division would tell you). There has to be a way to know if an image is free/paid/released for select use or even copied (that way editors can remove such images).

    Sorry if my comments seem harsh, i read your Knol page, best of luck with your venture.

    @Ankur – yeah, if you read my last 2 paras , you will get the gist of things. I mean whenever a big company diversifies there are always conspiracy theories. But more free knowledge isnt a bad thing. The ad thingy you mention is one way of looking at it, but i dont see any ads on Knol at this point of time atleast. Wikipedia gets donations, i guess people wont buy it if Google asks them to donate to them :P

  4. Ankur Banerjee Says:

    LOL. Gmail’s still in beta too. :P Maybe Google wants to use beta status as a reason to give excuses for any product. No offense, but Google’s track record at giving customer support to people is really bad.

  5. Ankur Banerjee Says:

    @WiseTechie: Look at this chart generated by Technorati – http://www.technorati.com/chartimg/knol?totalHits=3669&qParams=%26fMinAuthority%3Da4&height=329&width=550&days=70

    Shows clearly that the buzz around Knol is dying out. Of course, they don’t have ads yet, but I’m very certain that it’s right their in Google’s roadmap for the future.

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