Google Knol goes live – should Wikipedia worry?

By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Knol – Google’s equivalent of Wikipedia – has today finally gone live.    Should Wikipedia be quaking in their boots?  Well not quite yet.   I’m sure Jimbo Wales hasn’t broken a sweat up to now and isn’t likely to for quite some time with his 116 million users a month.

Just like Wikipedia, you can write articles on virtually any subject you like and they will be published.   But it remains to be seen what kind of editorial process Knol has compared to Wikipedia and whether Knol has a more relaxed or more stricter editorial control over “self-promotion”.   It will also be interesting to see how Knol deals with spam pages.

It was speculated some time ago (I have lost the weblink now) that Knol was created because Google was becoming increasingly annoyed that Wikipedia was more and more the number one search result for most searches.    So they decided to make their own Wikipedia-like service to knock Jimbo off that number one slot.   Whether this is true or not I can’t say, but you can’t deny that whatever search term you put into Google these days, you more often than not get a Wikipedia link first.

But for Google to dislodge Wikipedia will take some serious doing.   Wikipedia has been around for years and are one of the most visited and linked to website ever.   Unless Google pulls an underhanded trick with their PageRank, I don’t see how they are going to knock Wikipedia off their throne anytime soon.   Do you?

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6 Responses to Google Knol goes live – should Wikipedia worry?

  1. Is it illegal for Google to adjust the pagerank for their own pages, or just 'frowned upon' (by Google)?

    I mean, surely they'd be daft to not put their own stuff right at number one…

    • It's their PageRank so who's going to know if they make a few subtle tweaks here and there? Plus how is it illegal if it belongs to them? Their attitude would be "we own it, we'll do what we want with it"

      • Google provides a service, both to consumers, and to advertisers. They stand to lose credibility if the Google results become noticeably bogus, or word leaks out that they are tweaking PageRank in a selfish way.

        Credibility is important.

        Take Microsoft as an example. Microsoft's credibility is badly by their past actions. Even when Microsoft does something good, most folk assume there is something dubious going on …

  2. Given no one really knows the scret sauce in the Google search algorythms, It must be awfully tempting/easy for Google to game the system… this reminds me of how (supposedly)there is a virtual 'China Wall' between Stock Brokers and Portfolio Manager in most full-service brokerage firms… although many wonder if that wall isn't more like the Berlin wall, lately…

  3. I just don't see the community rising up to support them.

    From the sounds of it, authors are going to get authority over their articles, and I think there will be a rush to claim topics.