Stand Behind Your Knol: Google Takes on Wikipedia

experts.jpgIt’s starting to feel like the clock is ticking on all you anonymouses out there. Google has just launched its answer to Wikipedia, a new program called Knol, which allows experts to craft wiki-like entries on their area of expertise. Here’s the kicker: no anonymous entries.

The process is like producing a blog post — but in this case it’s not something written off the cuff but carefully crafted to coherently explain a single subject…Knols are meant to be signed with the author’s actual name. With permission, Google will actually verify the writer’s identity, either by credit card or phone.
Ha! As if we ever write anything off the cuff. Of course the question remains, who qualifies as an expert (we meet plenty of “experts” every day, many of them handing out fliers on the subway)? Furthermore, is it just us or is there something a tad worrisome about handing over your credit card information in conjunction with what boils down to your written opinion? (Google says won’t interfere with the writer’s opinion, but still.) Anyway, the point is Google is hoping that the knols will begin to challenge wiki-entries in terms of search results. One wonders if at some point we will have so many writers there won’t be any readers left.