Whenever I speak with an industry analyst, I’m invariable asked whether Google will continue to grow revenues at its current pace. My response is usually along the lines of “Google will continue to partner with content providers….”
Well, Google’s kicked that effort up a notch with news that it will now encourage the “average joe” to create content pages, saturate the web with them, and help Google earn some extra ad revenue along the way.
What surely must make Wikipedia, Associated Content and Mahalo cringe, is the introduction of what Google is calling “knols”–short for units of knowledge. Here’s how Google’s Udi Manber, VP Engineering explains a Knol…
At the heart, a knol is just a web page; we use the word “knol” as the name of the project and as an instance of an article interchangeably. It is well-organized, nicely presented, and has a distinct look and feel, but it is still just a web page. Google will provide easy-to-use tools for writing, editing, and so on, and it will provide free hosting of the content. Writers only need to write; we’ll do the rest.
A knol on a particular topic is meant to be the first thing someone who searches for this topic for the first time will want to read. The goal is for knols to cover all topics, from scientific concepts, to medical information, from geographical and historical, to entertainment, from product information, to how-to-fix-it instructions. Google will not serve as an editor in any way, and will not bless any content. All editorial responsibilities and control will rest with the authors. We hope that knols will include the opinions and points of view of the authors who will put their reputation on the line. Anyone will be free to write. For many topics, there will likely be competing knols on the same subject.
Authors of knols won’t be forced to show Google ads, but if they do they will receive a “substantial revenue share from the proceeds of those ads.”
Here’s an example knol…
So here are a few questions I’d like to hear your feedback on…
- Any conspiracy theories on whether this is connected to the apparent filtering of Squidoo content? Did Google get rid of the biggest competitor to knols?
- Didn’t we already have knols with Google Page Creator? Will nols replace this?
- Google doesn’t plan to edit knols in anyway – will this lead to more spam/noise in the search results?