Google not only lets you search for content, but now they will help you create and publish it (minor note: they will make money off your content). Yesterday, Google rolled out Knol – a site they’ve been testing for about seven months that allows “experts” to contribute articles under a Creative Commons license.
Although many are calling Knol the Wikipedia Killer, there are some fundamental differences between the sites. 1 – Wikipedia functions through “Wisdom of the Crowds” while Knol relies on one “expert” to write on a topic. 2 – Changes made to a Knol article must first be approved by the author, making the usability similar to About.com. 3 – Knol pages will make money through Google AdSense, a program Wikipedia does not use.
Controversy has quickly arisen around whether or not content on Knol will get pushed to the forefront to promote the interests of its parent company. For the time being, Wikipedia is still the leader in content, with over 2.5 million articles submitted to the English version alone – all of which typically appear in the top Web search results on Google – but it will remain to be seen if Knol will take the lead.
The New York Times spoke to a Google spokesperson and reports: “We will treat Knol pages as we treat other Web pages,” said Cedric Dupont, a Google product manager. “If there is a Knol that is the first place in search results, it deserves that place.”
Is Google gaining too much power, dipping its toes in both the content creation and delivery pools? Are they just upset Wikipedia didn’t buy into AdSense? If we all trust one “expert’s” article on Google, aren’t we closing ourselves off to the power of collective intelligence? Would love to hear your thoughts.
In the meantime, you can learn more about Knol here on Wikipedia.com. (Irony at it’s finest)