About six or eight hours ago Yesterday (I lost a day somewhere), Google announced a new project which threatens the balance of expert content creation on the web. It’s called Google Knol (I’m not keen on that name):
Earlier this week, we started inviting a selected group of people to try a new, free tool that we are calling “knol”, which stands for a unit of knowledge. Our goal is to encourage people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it. The tool is still in development and this is just the first phase of testing. For now, using it is by invitation only. But we wanted to share with everyone the basic premises and goals behind this project.
For a while, I’ve been hunting around for a specific, technical, bloggable topic that I could sink my teeth into. Plus, I’ve wanted to mess around with the possibilities of monetizing blog content. This seemed like an obvious option, so I give you www.WriteGreatKnols.com. I’m going to take a shot at writing the definitive blog on Google’s latest fanciful endeavour. If it works, great. If not, no harm done.
It’s fresh off the (word)press, and in fact the domain may not even resolve for you for a while. Go check it out, if you’re at all interested (and I don’t blame you if you’re not) to hear some initial thoughts on the subject.
Here’s one random thought that I haven’t seen mentioned elsewhere. The blog post was written by one Udi Manber, VP of Engineering at Google. The sample ‘knol’–which basically means ‘article’–is written by a Rachel Manber, a professor at Stanford. I’d guess that they’re related, and that Udi can rely on Rachel to skillfully deflect all interview enquiries and respect whatever NDA she signed.