Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Google Knol, not grassy knoll

Google appears to be challenging Wikipedia with its Knol, a peer-reviewed encyclopedia, which is a collection of knols.

And what's a knol? As defined by Google, "an authoritative article about a specific topic".

The big difference between this and Wikipedia seems to be a declaration of authorship. Articles will not be written by an anoymous crowd, as "we value and promote authorship", authors will sign their own names to their knol. It's unclear how this makes the knol authoritative.

It's "your knol, your voice", so you can be a solo author or partner with other experts in your field if you prefer.

Many of the articles are medical in nature, so one hopes they are authoritative. and some are more whimsical:

Barbecue sauce recipes : a taxonomy by Craig Goldwyn

Japanese whisky by Chris Bunting

Browsing is difficult as alphabetical arrangement is eschewed for a search box which delivers unrelated results.

It's still in beta, so it will hopefully get better.