If you’re fairly active online, you’ve no doubt come across the news that Google’s Knol is now open for business.
First of, what is it? Apparently “a knol is an authoritative article about a specific topic“. Interesting word, ‘authoritative’. Presumably that’s different to having just anyone write about anything they fancy?
Why do we need it? I have to be honest and say that I don’t really know. For Google, I’m sure there are many good reasons to have these “authoritative articles” as content within their own system and it will be interesting to see how much of this content is unique to Knol as opposed to having been published elsewhere, either on the author’s own site or some third party platform such as Wikipedia who publish authoritative articles about specific topics. Hang on a sec…
When it comes to duplicate content, we all know that Google frowns upon this appearing in its own very popular search engine so it will be fascinating to see how they deal with this issue in Knol. Aaron Wall of SEObook fame has recently published an article (on his own site, interestingly enough) entitled “Google Knol – Google’s Latest Attack on Copyright“. He’s run through an experiment he carried out with his own knol that certainly seems to have highlighted some interesting points with regards how Google is starting to rank these in its index.
Clearly this is very early days for Google Knol but let’s hope it can sit alongside other comparative services rather than attempting to squeeze the smaller sites out.