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3 reasons why Knol will beat Wikipedia (thenextweb.org)
23 points by joop on July 25, 2008 | hide | past | web | favorite | 31 comments

3 reasons why Wikipedia will kick Knol's Ass.

[0] => No ads and it is clean. It is made by people who don't intend to make money, created by people whose world don't revolve around money and read by people who value knowledge more than money.

[1] => Wikipedia is millions of pages ahead of Google Knol when it comes to content. 7 million pages in 200 languages. Money can't buy you that.

[2] => Wikipedia is synonymous with knowledge but with Google Knol, only the first four letters match, that is the closest it comes to knowledge.

I can go on, but will stop here. This is Google's narrow minded way of making money by showing more ads. They clearly were directing lot of traffic to Wikipedia pages, they realized why direct the traffic to some other site when we can let users steal content from Wikipedia and show it in Knol.

Here's a few more:

- Knol articles aren't CC-licensed by default. So not only can't people log in and update them (a facility which, arguably, makes Wikipedia a bit too dynamic) but they can't even clone them under their own byline and make fixes. The result is going to be a bunch of sad-looking abandoned articles, like the dregs of About.com. Say what you will about Wikipedia: The thing is often up-to-date within minutes.

- If, indeed, Knol gets favorable treatment in PageRank -- even if its advantage is only slight -- people will soon figure out that it's more profitable to dump 10,000 crappy articles on Knol than to craft one perfect article and keep it updated. The ads will show up anyway. Heck, it might be more profitable to put up a page with poor content and a bunch of ads -- that way frustrated readers will click through on the ads to escape. That's how domain squatting works.

We can certainly look forward to seeing just about every Wikipedia article mirrored on Knol. The software to do that is being written right now; maybe it has already been written. Interestingly, sites filled with ads used to do that to get a lot of PageRank, but I haven't seen any of those sites on a Google search recently. I guess that might change now that Google's getting into the linkjacking business.

there is only one reason it'll beat knol...EVERYONE knows that wikipedia is where you go for info on the web. Most people now don't search for "______", they now search for "_____ wiki" to avoid the ad infested sites.

Knol is just another case of Google copy pasting other people's products, w/o real care if it succeeds or not. If it does? GREAT! If it doesn't? Well at least we managed to get 20,000,000 page views and got us $500,000 more in ad revenue

exactly. Now when people are confused about something, they will go to wiki for validation, even they know it is not 100%. but people do trust it.

If google is able to change the habit to 'xxxx knol', i think google can do anything on the web.

Has anyone tried to create an actual 'Knol' yet? I did, and the experience was less than smooth... in fact I gave up. Editing a big article is not only slow, but will cause stack overflows in JavaScript, making it impossible to save your work. Then the thing froze again for a few minutes, after which it informed me that 512k is the maximum size for an article. Of course, in typical Google style, there's no real feedback form, just some 'help' page [1] where you can react, but which seems to be completely ignored by the Google staff.

Oh, and the 'confirm name' feature works only for US citizens. Which is probably no big loss, since it mostly looks like a lame excuse to gather even more data about us. But (though I can't confirm this first hand) someone blogged that your Knols only show up on the actual site if you confirm your name.

I'm appalled.

[1] https://knol.google.com/k/knol/knol/Help -- Take a look at the enraged comments, it's amusing.

to add to the reasons why wikipedia will stay king - couldn't wikipedia just cite knol when it needs to?

Look at King Jimmy's bag collection. It will tell you, that GOOG is behind Wikipedia, somewhat like Firefox, but maybe not as completely having sold out. It made GOOG business sense to assist in generating valuable content on the internet, which attracts eyeballs and gives reason to surf at all. Since then, they must have figured out, that it would be much better, if they could own the net completely. At least they are trying ;) Until you cannot dump Knol and modify it at will, it will be never free, hence it will never compete with wikipedia (which ironically is shooting itself in the leg, giving room for and old-new wikipedia).

What's up with this headline? The original article's headline is "3 reasons why Knol will beat Wikipedia". Changing it to "3 reasons why Knol will beat Wikipedia's ass" is just plain immature and makes HN look like Digg or Reddit. We're talking about two competing companies, not a celebrity boxing match. It certainly makes it less likely anyone is going to take the article, your submissions and comments seriously.

If people here want to keep this place from turning into a cess pool like just about every other social news site it's up to us to keep crap like this off the front page.

I checked the article's claim for myself -- "Results 1 - 10 of about 12,700,000 for read russian."

"How to read Russian in 75 minutes" knol at #5 -- but it was created yesterday.

Google does not seem so objective now.

Yes, this seems like a foolish way to erode the Google brand. They were already serving ads on every search that returned Wikipedia entries; is the long-term damage to their brand really worth the extra money?

Given that it's probably impossible to design a simple PageRank algorithm (because it will be gamed, overnight, by SEO experts), and because Google has to keep the algorithm secret anyway (for the same reason), the only reason to trust PageRank is Google's impartiality: Because they're haven't been in the publishing business themselves (at least not conspicuously) they don't have a particular incentive to favor their own content as they tweak the PageRank settings. It's just not possible for Google to become a publisher and still retain consumer confidence in their core product.

Nothing will happen in the short term. Brand erosion is like soil erosion: you don't notice the individual grains trickling downhill, but then you wake up one day and the mountain is missing. There was a time when Yahoo was the king of search, and that time is over for a reason. Early adopters are going to start scanning the skies once again, waiting for the arrival of Google's competition.

It is greed that will become the downfall of Google as they comprise many aspects of their service to generate revenue.

Honesty, integrity, reliability, trust, et al, are values they should not compromise to push their products. We know "don't be evil" is dead, but perhaps be less evil than you are being now.

It is the poisoning of culture that will be their downfall. Do you really think if Google was run by engineers they'd release something like this upon the world? Heck no. There's no technical challenge in Knol.

Google! If you ever see this, bring back the old Google...the Google that created GMail and a damn good search engine.

Having checked out the top five, I have to say I found the knol to be most useful in actually teaching someone to read Russian. The current #1 may have been there for a long time, but it is a very poor resource. The knol certainly has the right to be ranked among these pages, if not higher.

Objective or not, Google is giving me the information I am looking for, hence it is behaving exactly as I would want it to.

#1 as of Fri Jul 25 09:03:39 EDT 2008.

There is another knol out there, it's called "about.com", and all 3 points the author is making (including high pagerank) isn't working for them.

Most of content on about.com is utter junk: a bunch of bored housewives trying to make a buck are desperate to write something, anything.

I just looked at knol. It seems to be set up in such a way that it will encourage the creation of junk adword-magnet articles ("how to buy a hi-fi system", "how to find a personal injury lawyer in the state of Michigan") rather than the creation of truly high-quality articles by experts.

Hell, I'm an expert in a few things, and I currently feel far more motivated to write a junky "how to buy X" article than I do to write about anything I actually know.

Google can't be subjective, its on a freaking google subdomain. Search engines do treat subdomains as seperate new pages (with little ranking effect from the domain) it still on google.com which makes it golden, then Im sure mattcutts.com/blog and other googlers blog roll is pointed to it - its done, a page on knol will soon rank higher than a page with exact same content on wikipedia.

Per folks in the know, Google doesn't give itself any preferential treatment.

Try searching for 'search' with Google. Google itself (perhaps the best known search engine) comes in at result #20 -- at the bottom of the second page of search results.

But they don't really have any reason to care what position Google shows up for "search" for someone already using Google to search.

Isn't this anti-competitive behavior? I could see some people making a case against Google...

I agree completely with you Joop. The killer feature here is that users can get a substantial pay from their articles if Google keeps on ranking them high. However this could also be its downfall.

Seriously! This gets to HN top stories? http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=256481 is way better reserched.

Well lets go over a handful of things Knol is missing.

No search results for: engineering, math, computer, internet or transistor. One of Wikipedia's strong points is it's ability to provide not historic information but technical information. Whether it's an mathematical concept, an algorithm or a definition it'll either tell you what you need to know or at least send you in the right direction. Until Knol finds a way to address some of these shortcomings in basic subjects, it will not be on my list of searches.

I can see both sides when in comes to licensing. I think Google's goal is to make experts in the business world participate. It'll be interesting to see what actually ends up happening.

Allowing ads and adsense to encourage posting seems to be equivalent to buying the information. For things that are subjective this is great because you know your moderator and thus the source of the information. But for most subjects, users don't want them moderated one direction or another. Users want to know facts or as unbiased an opinion as possible. Leave it to bloggers to create all those opinion pieces that everyone loves or hates so much.

What you guys fail to see is that sure the product alreadfy exists. for scholars and techies wikipedia is great. But the text-driven presentation doesnt draw the regular joe who looks at presentation over function.

Look at apple. Sure their devices work, but I've heard several people say they bought it because its pretty. also mp3 players were out before ipod. they worked, in a lot of ways, better than ipod. But the apple machine could sell evian to a drowning man, as can the google machine.

>This approach takes people out of anonymity and potential incorrect contributions

Well, I'm sold. I'd hate to have something politically incorrect corrupting my precious bodily fluids.

Google is selling ads on pages they host that are reached by their search engine. Conflict of interest?


AFAIK, Google said they want to organize world's information. They didn't say that those informations cannot be hosted in google.com domain.

Moreover, nobody is forced to use Google, or buy their ads, or click on Knol links in SERPs.

Wikipedia beat everything2, therefor Knol won't beat Wikipedia. Knol is just a pretty everything2.

Objectively, all listed Knol features can be turned vice versa. But no wonder that money with name of Google can make perfect results together...

i will give you 1 reason why it won't beat Wikipedia

The name sucks. It reminds me of some kind of a lost god

I welcome Knol, in my opinion this move from Google is well within their mission of organizing world's information - they are creating platform for experts organizing their knowledge on google-hosted servers. Isn't About.com and others doing the same?

I wouldn't be surprised if they will place Knols even above other search results in SERPS - it's their right to do so and I don't have problems with that.

I think Wikipedia is not threatened by this, since it's rather different service. While Wikipedia is very useful, it also has its flaws, for example it is not really open - entity is not allowed (or even persecuted publicly) for editing entry about itself. I hope Knol will not have such a restriction.

I have been using Wikipedia as my starting point when researching subject I know very little about. In the future I might use two starting points - Wikipedia and Knol. From user perspective, that's only good.

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