Knol lacks knowledge

Google's would-be Wikipedia competitor doesn't have the goods to challenge the Free Encyclopedia. Yet.

Published July 24, 2008 8:10PM (EDT)

Google has officially launched Knol, and a search on "Knol and Wikipedia" turns up a slew of stories about the fully formed instant rivalry the launch spawns between both sides of that "and."

With no clue what "knol" meant, I turned to Wikipedia, which, in its entry for Google's Knol, states: "The term knol, named after a 'unit of knowledge,' refers to both the project and an article in the project."

Curious to see what Knol had to say about Wikipedia, I visited, searched on Wikipedia, and came up with nothing.

Ditto for searches on two genius inventors I'm fond of, "Edison" and "Alan Kay." I did have some success with a search for "XBox," which had no entry itself, but was referred to in an entry for video game Devil May Cry, authored by a fascinatingly bearded contributor who goes by the name of Chewy.

ZDNet blogger Garett Rogers ends his post ("Google Creates a New Market and Wreaks Havoc on Another"): "Unfortunately for Wikipedia, Google has the means to pay authors for their contributions. I wonder what’s stopping someone from ripping off all Wikipedia content and profiting from it?"

Perhaps, but unless you write Knol entries for "Britney Spears" or "Linux" and similarly big-hit Web wonders, it’s doubtful the pennies paid by AdSense will turn many contributors into millionaires.

By Joe Hutsko

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