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Google's "Knol" Reinvents Wikipedia

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the only-a-matter-of-time dept.

Google 272

teslatug writes "Google appears to be reinventing Wikipedia with their new product that they call knol (not yet publicly available). In an attempt to gather human knowledge, Google will accept articles from users who will be credited with the article by name. If they want, they can allow ads to appear alongside the content and they will be getting a share of the profits if that's the case. Other users will be allowed to rate, edit or comment on the articles. The content does not have to be exclusive to Google but no mention is made on any license for it. Is this a better model for free information gathering?"

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Subject Typo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21696406)

Google'a "Knol" Reinvents Wikipedia....

Re:Subject Typo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21696428)

Theees not-a typo-a, thees subtle mockery of me-a, Mario!

Re:Subject Typo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21696538)

Sry ur Anonymous. The guy after u gets the points for Typo detection. Thank u for playing the game.

Guess the language! (5, Funny)

bconway (63464) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696422)

Google'a Knol

Klingon?

Re:Guess the language! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21696444)

Q'pla!

Re:Guess the language! (2, Funny)

lucifig (255388) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696452)

It'sa me! Mario!

Re:Guess the language! (0, Offtopic)

M0nk-e (1104673) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696482)

The Google has assimilated - all your knowledge are belong to them.

Re:Guess the language! (0, Offtopic)

ComradeF (646504) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696486)

Maybe Orcish?

Dabu!

Re:Guess the language! (0, Offtopic)

outlando (1198685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696716)

Uglúk u bagronk sha pushdug Saruman-glob búbhosh skai

Re:Guess the language! (0, Offtopic)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696502)

Google'a Knol

This is slashdot. Where we worship Typos: The greek god of speeling erorz

Re:Guess the language! (1, Offtopic)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696554)

I believe this [google.com] is what you're looking for.

The horror (0, Offtopic)

ajlitt (19055) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696566)

Editing oversight on /.? Great google'a moogle'a!

Trying to promote a new catchword too. (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696434)

Google is trying to promote knol as a new buzzword [doubletongued.org] meaning "a unit of knowledge."

I wonder how many knol's Slashdot is worth?

Re:Trying to promote a new catchword too. (5, Funny)

nlitement (1098451) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696460)

Is it seriously so hard to form "plural's" in English? :(

Re:Trying to promote a new catchword too. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696504)

Sorry. When I wrote it originally, I wrote it as 'knol's, but somehow I accidentally erased the first "'".

Re:Trying to promote a new catchword too. (2, Funny)

courseofhumanevents (1168415) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696602)

Morgan didn't have enough knols to get the job done, obviously.

Re:Trying to promote a new catchword too. (1)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696476)

Knol? Sounds more like Cyc [wikipedia.org] to me. Hhmmm,.. if consciousness is computable, can the task be distributed to a Mechanical Turk? (*strokes chin thoughtfully)

Re:Trying to promote a new catchword too. (0, Offtopic)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696506)

Well there lots of dubious knols about the grassy knoll [wikipedia.org]

Re:Trying to promote a new catchword too. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21696518)

About 80 Courics worth.

Re:Trying to promote a new catchword too. (0, Offtopic)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696662)

I thought the "Couric" was the unitof measure for tartness. Go figure.

Re:Trying to promote a new catchword too. (2, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696622)

They should have called it NULL.

Re:Trying to promote a new catchword too. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696942)

Yeah, that would have made so much sense. Knollerskates!!! kmao!! Great Knol of China!!

Re:Trying to promote a new catchword too. (1, Funny)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696998)

I wonder how many knol's Slashdot is worth?

Zero. The factually incorrect posts mostly cancel out the informative ones, and any knols left over are nullified by poor grammar and spelling.

Re:Trying to promote a new catchword too. (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21697110)

Google is trying to promote knol as a new buzzword meaning "a unit of knowledge."


We already have that word. Its called a bit

Re:Trying to promote a new catchword too. (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 6 years ago | (#21697240)

A bit is a unit of data, which is not necessarily the same as knowledge. Since "knowledge" is a vague term, there is no "unit" of it.

Re:Trying to promote a new catchword too. (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21697258)

No, that's a unit of data. There's a large difference between knowledge and data. For example, let's say last week I sold 1000 PCs. Now out of those,

500 had FooStor hard drives
300 had BarMax hard drives
200 had BazStar hard drives

out of 500 FooStor hard drives there were 300 failures
out 300 BarMax hard drives there were 3 failures
out of 200 BazStar hard drives, there were no failures

That's data.

Knowledge is knowing that the FooStor hard drives and pieces of shit and you shouldn't use them.

Re:Trying to promote a new catchword too. (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21697242)

If knols are units of information, then I would imagine that a negative amount of knols is misinformation.

Huh? (4, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696440)

The headline, blurb and link create a perfect storm of incomprehensibility -- that I had to go to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] to figure out what the hell this is about isn't an auspicious beginning, and I still have no idea what "Google'a" is.

Typo? (2, Informative)

imstanny (722685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696462)

The headline, blurb and link create a perfect storm of incomprehensibility -- that I had to go to Wikipedia to figure out what the hell this is about isn't an auspicious beginning, and I still have no idea what "Google'a" is.
a=s... Google's.

Re:Typo? (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696540)

Ahh, that could be. My first thought was the same as bconway's: "Is that supposed to be Klingon?"

Re:Huh? (0, Offtopic)

Penfold1234 (920794) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696536)

It's a giant moonster escapee from the poll options.

Google'a vs Godzilla!

Re:Huh? (0, Offtopic)

Penfold1234 (920794) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696572)

Ah, the irony... A typo in my own post, taking the piss out of a mistyped headline. Whoops.

Re:Huh? (0, Offtopic)

moeinvt (851793) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696732)

I thought the image of a "giant moonster" was rather funny.

"Free Information Gathering?" (1, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696446)

Is this a better model for free information gathering?
How is this in any way 'free'?

You see that thing on the right of the screenshot [google.com] ? That's an "Ads by Google" box. When I view a page and that guy is there, it isn't free anymore. Do you think the TV you watch with an antenna is free? Do you think those 'news' papers that you can pick up without paying anything are free? No, they're all laden with advertisements. Somebody somewhere down the line paid money to get that data in front of my eyes.

I noticed the VP of Engineering liked to use that word a lot to. I do not think it means what he thinks it means.

This is not free. This is ad based & ad driven information gathering. I don't know if it will be more effective but once that enters into it, you suddenly have the entire world looking to profit off this. That spells for some very bad possibilities--from violating copywrite and just inserting an encyclopedia in for cash to making stuff up and faking credentials to earn money.

Re:"Free Information Gathering?" (2, Insightful)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696520)

Two thoughts come to mind:

1) This is worse than Wikipedia... how, exactly? One would think that ad revenue would be proportional to the relevancy and quality of the article content. The only question I have is who gets a cut of the money if someone makes a major revision to an article.

2) Can you absolutely quantify how much it costs you to visit a page with a Google ad banner? Wikipedia isn't free either - SOMEBODY has to pay for it. At some level everything needs to be paid for.

=Smidge=

Re:"Free Information Gathering?" (2, Insightful)

tqbf (59350) | more than 6 years ago | (#21697238)

One would think that ad revenue would be proportional to the relevancy and quality of the article content.

Yeah, because that's pretty much exactly how blogs work today.

Re:"Free Information Gathering?" (5, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696550)

> You see that thing on the right of the screenshot? That's an "Ads by Google" box. When I view a page and that
> guy is there, it isn't free anymore.

No, it's free, because you're not paying for it. Free newspapers are free, regardless of the fact that advertisers paid to have their ads inserted. Free parties are free regardless of the fact that someone paid for the records/PA etc. Your `ad based` distinction is meaningless. `The whole world` - that is, other people - try to profit from free stuff too. Is something `free` by your definition (god knows there are enough definitions of Free to keep us going for a while now) only involve benefactors with deep pockets funding a project indefinitely, at a loss? How many of those exist? Even there, you'd hardly be exempt from copyright infringement etc - it just wouldn't happen in an attempt to make a profit, but for kicks. There are no adds on Wikipedia but I've seen plenty of abuse there - lies, fake deaths, stupid pictures inserted into maths pages etc.

Hopefully information from Wikipedia will end up on Know as well as in many other places, so that different approaches to protecting facts and filtering nonsense can be tried.

Picking nits. (2, Informative)

stomv (80392) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696882)

There's two ideas here:
1. No charge; you don't have to pay any hard cash.
2. No cost; you bear no burden at all -- money, labor, or attention to ads.

Knol will have no charge, but it won't come at no cost.

Re:Picking nits. (4, Insightful)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21697098)

meaningless distinction. Give me an example of something you can have at "no cost."

The last breath of air you inhaled? Cost you calories. The last book that some crazy person wrote, had self-published, and shipped to you for free without a single ad in it? You still have to read it, which costs you time (and calories, among other things).

Again - if you really want to go down that absurd path, give me an example of something that you get at no cost to you. Something that fits your definition of "free."

Re:"Free Information Gathering?" -Yes (5, Insightful)

imstanny (722685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696570)

What is the purpose of your diatribe? It's free for the user. If I need information, I can gather it for free: Whether or not there's ads on the page does not limit the amount of data I can gather, nor does it decrease the amount of money in my wallet.

Re:"Free Information Gathering?" -No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21696650)

nor does it decrease the amount of money in my wallet.
So you're telling me that nobody clicks those ads and makes a purchase?

How in the hell does Google make so much money off them then?

Ah, you see someone's wallet is definitely losing money when the only thing they were looking for in the first place was information.

Re:"Free Information Gathering?" -No (4, Insightful)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696730)

My oh my the stupidity that sometimes lies here. Don't feed the trolls, but sometimes they need it ramming down their throat.

"someone's wallet is definitely losing money when the only thing they were looking for in the first place was information."

YES. THE ADVERTISER IS SPENDING THIS MONEY... except they're generally not 'LOSING MONEY', as the purpose of advertising is to promote your product for less money than you will get back from the increased consumer base and sales as a result of the advertising.

The viewers don't pay. That's the point. I can go to this site once or 10000 times and it will not cost me a penny aside from my usual internet access fees. I DON'T PAY. It is a FREE SERVICE to the end user.

Advertising in -pedias is a contentious issue and I'm not sure I agree wholeheartedly with it, but for gods sake, stop spreading such bullshit which is entirely false.

Re:"Free Information Gathering?" -No (2, Insightful)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696764)

I'd just like to add - in no way is anyone OBLIGED to buy a product from the adverts. There is such thing as free will. If you spend money on an advertised product you see on a billboard on the way to work on the train, it does not mean that train journey cost you more money.

*head explodes with frustration at stupid comments*

Re:"Free Information Gathering?" -No (0, Offtopic)

rubberglove (1066394) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696766)

Lisa: There must be a website that can help you with a clingy baby.
Marge: Oh, I don't want to bother the internet with my problem.
Bart: Aw, come on, Mom; we'll help you surf.
[Marge sits down at their computer and begins clicking with the mouse.]
Bart: Click that one, Mom. [she continues clicking]
Lisa: No, go up! [she continues clicking]
Bart: Keep going -- up, up, up! [she continues clicking]
Lisa: The blue ones are ads. [she continues clicking]
Bart: That's the toolbar. [she continues clicking]
Lisa: Now you've opened Word! Close it! [she continues clicking]
Bart: Close it! Don't save it! [she continues clicking]
Lisa: Stop clicking! [she continues clicking]
Bart: Don't go there! [she continues clicking]
Lisa: Why are you buying a freezer?! [she continues clicking]
Bart: Don't click the cart or you've bought it! [she continues clicking]
Lisa: Aw, you clicked the cart! [Marge stops clicking]
Marge: If you're so smart, you do it. [Bart hits one button and the right website appears on the screen. Marge groans.]

More importantly, NOT OPEN (4, Informative)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696956)

Much more importantly, this is going to be owned by Google. They're highly unlikely to let everyone download their article database in the way that wikipedia does. Publically created information on the scale of wikipedia should not be owned by
private organisations.

Re:More importantly, NOT OPEN (1)

galoise (977950) | more than 6 years ago | (#21697128)

the wikimedia foundation IS a private organization, google may very well devise a similar licensing scheme to not own the content, or wp could change the licensing terms to enforce copyright on submissions. Google being a for-profit enterprise has nothing to do with the ownership of the content, in principle.

Now, you could argue that normally, for-profit organizations wouldn't have any incentive to let go of the ownerhips of the content, or whatever, but the dichotomy bewteen public-private has nothing to do with it, they are two very different issues.

Re:"Free Information Gathering?" (2, Interesting)

ortholattice (175065) | more than 6 years ago | (#21697000)

You see that thing on the right of the screenshot [google.com] ? That's an "Ads by Google" box. When I view a page and that guy is there, it isn't free anymore.

Oops, someone may be in trouble... the image [flickr.com] on that page is CC licensed for "non-commercial" only.

Re:"Free Information Gathering?" (1)

yagu (721525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21697140)

Hey elda... good point.

And, evermore, TANSTAAFL [wikipedia.org] axiomatically holds true. It's a gem of a philosophical nugget I've held dear since reading "Moon".

Re:"Free Information Gathering?" (0, Flamebait)

galoise (977950) | more than 6 years ago | (#21697194)

the obvious distinction that you english speakers need to make between gratis and libre is not only a difference between degress of freedom in an object, it's a difference between two differnet things, as gratis refers to the cost of access to something. Nothing is per-se gratis, unless it is a publicly available, non-exclusive good with no costs associated to its distribution or consumption. like air. Anything else, is gratis for someone. in this case, fotr the user, but not for google, or the advertisers.

Now libre, in the other hand, has nothing to do with costs at all, but to the rights confered upon third parties to use, distribute, or modify the good distributed. Specifically, it relates to the freedoms you are entitled to upon receiving said good, disregarding all cost considerations.

The "Ads by google" may probably be relevant from a costs point of view, but it has NOTHING to do with its libre standing, notwithstanding the fact that normally, when goods are distributed for-profit, even if gratis to the user, they tend to be distributed un-librely. but this is correlation, not necessity. Its a contingent association.

Re:"Free Information Gathering?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21697230)

I'm sorry if I misunderstood, but in all this "free is good" movement, don't people feel any shame? Of course it's not free. Wikipedia isn't free either btw, some people paid lots of money and others lots of time to make it happen. Just not you. The same for google. All these people would like nothing better then to see the advertisments disapear, just to have their perfectly free thing. Are they (you?) so broken from reality that not only use without any gratitude a product you don't pay for, but act as if it's your right to use it and it's the advertisers who profit from your right?

Well... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21696448)

I'll guess we'll find out when the first right wing, white supremacist knol pops up for a search on the NAACP, won't we?

This is so unlike Wikipedia (5, Insightful)

Loibisch (964797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696454)

All they're basically proposing is that you write an article as best as you can and they host it, giving you a tiny share of the revenue it generates. So instead of watching edit wars and being able to check out multiple opinions you now have to take the whole article as it is. There might even be small errors in there that would otherwise have been fixed by peers.

I understand that knowing the author could give more weight to the information of an article...I just don't understand how this is anything worth talking about or worth comparing to wikipedia.

might be (5, Interesting)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696464)

Wikipedia is getting something of a reputation for being elitist and at times discriminatory without justification. Whatever the truth, when such labels are applied people are usually ripe for alternatives.

Google did this once before, in spite of what they say to the contrary, against Sourceforge. In that case, good though they are, Sourceforge was becoming quite unreliable for non paying users, and their service, while including many wonderful options, was unweildy to use.

Along came google with google code. It's a simpler service, nowhere near the features of sourceforge, but for sheer simplicity it's a joy. I wasn't alone in moving there.

Will I use knol? Well it might be just the place to place some articles derived from papers I've published, we shall see.

Re:might be (1)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696542)

Only real question is, how will knol prevent inheritance of wikipedias "cult" society?

Rating system and such is ripe for that kind of abuse, like: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/12/06/wikipedia_and_overstock/ [theregister.co.uk] & http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/12/04/wikipedia_secret_mailing/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:might be (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21697188)

Only real question is, how will knol prevent inheritance of wikipedias "cult" society?

I don't know. We'll have to see. You can be pretty sure that if people start complaining a lot google will come down hard on any such movement if it threatens their profits from advertising on the site.

Remember the Webcomic Deletions? (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696548)

Wikipedia is getting something of a reputation for being elitist...
You got that right, remember them purging webcomics [slashdot.org] ?

Knol claims to be open to all knowledge of entertainment so it's possible it could be seen as a safe haven for these fans & anyone who's been struck by the notability hammer. I could see them hopping on the wayback machine and just putting their words back into digital print ... I would if I were in their shoes.

I never did see anything mentioned about the horror case of me writing my own autobiography as a knol. That wasn't addressed but I guess they'll flesh that stuff out. It'll be interesting to see where they draw the line and, like you said, who moves to the other model.

Re:Remember the Webcomic Deletions? (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21697026)

Clearly, the #1 test for any new web authoring service or information repository is whether it will be capable of archiving priceless webcomic knowledge for future generations.

Re:Remember the Webcomic Deletions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21697132)

Clearly, the #1 test for any new web authoring service or information repository is whether it will be capable of archiving priceless webcomic knowledge for future generations.

It may not seem like it to you, but culture is more than just what's growing in your underwear.

Re:Remember the Webcomic Deletions? (2, Interesting)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21697172)

Clearly, the #1 test for any new web authoring service or information repository is whether it will be capable of archiving priceless webcomic knowledge for future generations.

Actually, yes, it would be.

Did you for instance know that one of the reasons so many copies of fifties and sixties comics and novella's are around is that shipping companies used to buy them in bulk and use them as ballast? They'd then sell them on when they arrived at their destination. Nowadays those very same comics are, as you know, bought and sold for hundreds of dollers sometimes.

I know this because I relied on that very thing to keep me supplied here in the UK. I'd prefer if a slightly more reliable means of preserving for posterity were available for the current online 'pulp' phenomena. Wikipedia refusing to do so is snobbery, and lack of foresight.

Re:Remember the Webcomic Deletions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21697244)

this is what people want. when i first heard this i thought, there's no way google is going to overtake wikipedia, but then i realized that maybe they'll chill with the deletions, bitching about trivia, etc and earn popularity that way. i love wikipedia, but it often seems like a small group of editors are trying to push it towards a particular ideal that runs contrary to the way most people actually want to -use- wikipedia. still, it's hard to believe wikipedia is gonna get beat at its own game any time soon.

Domain squatter made millions (3, Funny)

L505 (884811) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696466)

Quick, someone register knol.org, knol.net, knol.info.. bwaaah why am I posting this message.. off to domain name services!

Crowdsource pagerank (0)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696472)

Just let me rate any webpage, and choose friends. Then use the last.fm algorithm to find what I'm looking for.

This could end badly... (5, Insightful)

TheLuggage2008 (1199251) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696474)

Wikipedia is having enough trouble trying to stop people from editing content to cast the groups they represent in a better light; Giving them the opportunity to create their own misleading articles that can make them money through ads as well doesn't sound promising. Add to that the fact that people without agendas who share information on wikis now surely must be doing it for the love of sharing information or the love of the topic its self; ad money will only end up encouraging less passionate people to post whatever pops into their heads just to get a page running for the ad support.

Re:This could end badly... (3, Insightful)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696854)

It doesn't sound very much like Wikipedia.

With an article assigned to a person for revenue-sharing, what about people throwing in their small corrections and elaborations? They're locked out of these small changes that are important to the end-result.

Wikipedia works around a whole mess of people throwing information at it with the expectation that correct information will sift up to the top over time as evidence appears to back up the information against unconfirmed noise. And when contested versions of information in close competition, the uninformed ought to have a reasonable opportunity to examine both and decide for themselves rather than a single viewpoint presenting a single side. The multiple sources of contributions are what distinguish wikipedia from all other encyclopedias. Knol is not really lining up against wikipedia's model, but with the classic encyclopedia model, but just situated online and ad-driven rather than printed and purchase-driven.

If they wanted to compete with wikipedia it seems like they'd get better results by just doing the same thing with a cleaner interface and google's hosting resources. The ad-word hits over time would still be plenty assuming they manage to build up a large enough "network effect"(wiki it;) ).

Re:This could end badly... (1)

Stradivarius (7490) | more than 6 years ago | (#21697256)

presumably the idea behind it (whether it will work or not we'll have to see) is that while anyone can write an article, the better ones will rise to the top, just like with pages on Google's search engine.

So instead of a collaborative editing process, it's a competition between individuals.

Re: the monetary incentive, it cuts both ways. Sure there's now more of an incentive for people to share information, but that may produce more good information as well as more bad information. If Google's ranking mechanism works, few people will see the bad ones because they'll be buried way down in the rankings where few will bother to look. And that itself will be incentive to write better material, because otherwise you won't get any sizable ad revenue.

The differences between the Google and Wikipedia models will be interesting to watch. For an author, Google would seem to be the better model - you get undiluted recognition (hard on Wikipedia if your article is interesting enough to be heavily edited by others), a share of ad revenue, and creative control over the output. For someone whose contributions are primarily editing versus initial authorship, Wikipedia obviously makes use of those skills in a way the Google setup hasn't announced. It'll be interesting to see if Google incorporates some sort of opportunity for editors to have a formal role, perhaps through some sort of agreement negotiated with the author.

The thing I really find interesting about Google's knol system is that it can be extended beyond just a Wikipedia-like application. Take the current process of producing a written commercial work - you have an author, but the publisher also provides editors to help get the initial text into shape. If Google plays their cards right, they may turn their system into a platform by which authors and editors can find and contract with each other. While there are some difficulties if you're assuming a traditional buy-my-novel business model, much written work out there uses a magazine-like advertising model already, which is where Google has a lot of strength.

Rating Articles (2, Informative)

mfh (56) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696492)

This is a feature I've long since looked for in a website that has factual content, like Wikipedia (minus chip-on-shoulder admins). Krol should prevent astro-turfing well, as long as Google protects against dupes and has other beneficial restrictions.

SP Re:Rating Articles (1)

mfh (56) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696560)

Knol, *Krol* (ugh too much WoW [wowhead.com] )

Oh and here is a strange piece of irony [wikipedia.org] .

about.com, not Wikipedia (4, Insightful)

simong (32944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696524)

At first look the model seems to be about.com, which offered information on subjects as presented by named experts, which is pretty much the reverse of how Wikipedia works. As ideas go, it's not a bad one and I can see the potential for the use of trust or reputation to maintain the veracity of information, as I'm sure Google have done. It brings up several other questions of course, such as Google finally becoming a content provider, and how it's going to be managed - even if it is all user maintained the potential for another cabal is always on the horizon.

Re:about.com, not Wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21696876)

At first look the model seems to be about.com, which offered information on subjects as presented by named experts, which is pretty much the reverse of how Wikipedia works.


You're right about there being very few experts on Wikipedia.

about.com is a scum-sucking page hijacker (1)

bball99 (232214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696926)

about.com took my page on a pet project, then played it off as part of their content...

somehow this behavior stopped when i changed the top-leading content on the page into an anti-about.com rant... :-)

JMHO...

People and Companies? (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696526)

Who gets to write the blurb for famous people and companies? Surely if its them then it may be a bit biased. But then if its someone else, someone else will be making money off them.

Strange name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21696530)

I wonder where they got 'knol' from. Perhaps it is a tongue-in-cheek reference to gnolls, which are are not well known for their knowledge. Or perhaps an abbreviation of 'knoll', because they are known as popular places for meditation by knowledgeable men. The only other thing I can think of is a corruption of 'null', in which case I assume they are not particularly optimistic about this knowledge project.

Will schools adopt it for research? (3, Insightful)

DeeQ (1194763) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696582)

The key idea behind the knol project is to highlight authors

This makes me wonder if highschool teachers will allow the use of this as a resource for school papers. Since most of the time schools forbid students from using wikipedia as a source for any information. Since this has the google name on it which is probably the number one thing they use for finding information for research, I wonder if this will be acceptable. Something makes me doubt it will but it would be nice if they were open to the idea of it.

Re:Will schools adopt it for research? (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21697036)

I wonder if this will be acceptable.
I would not let my 7 year old cite a source like this in her homework, let alone my students.

Not too pander... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21696590)

but I've always preferred something like everything2. I've always felt it's system was one of the best. It gives writers such freedom, and the community is just right as to not be plagued by spamming and vandalism.

Attribution is the key (4, Insightful)

NekoXP (67564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696616)

Wikipedia fails for one simple reason; most of the data is without citation and most of the data with citation relies on web links that do not work anymore. The documentation that IS correct has absolutely no attribution and to find out who wrote an article or various portions of it you need to delve into histories or use something like they use to prove that the government is using it for propaganda or companies are removing swathes of information that are disparaging by the IP blocks they're posted from.

Being able to sort information by far better categories (not just an encyclopaedia) and enforcing attribution means the scrupulous among us will be able to publish data on the knowledge base and get the credit for it, and be able to be *congratulated or better yet, corrected* on it.

With Wikipedia, if you don't like what someone wrote, you delete it. You change it. You add insults. Then you can't use any of the data from Wikipedia anywhere else because it's GFDL. The information is *so* free the only place you can read it is ON Wikipedia, or has spidered Wikipedia and presented the data verbatim on another site.. if Google allows authors to select their license themselves (be it a CC variant, GFDL or a true copyright with a restrictive clause) then this will only draw people in.

There is something wrong about trying to free information by putting it under a restrictive, blanket license. Not all content can be licensed the same way. Wikipedia is high maintenance - looking for citations, constant review by editors, vandalism watches, locking, even selecting for the front page..

As for the advertising, even Wikipedia needs to earn it's keep. To be honest I really really object to trying to read an encyclopedia entry and being told that the WikiMedia conference is going to be on a certain date, taking up 1/4 of my screen at the top of the page, or that I need to donate to the cause. Fuck that. I want to turn that damn advert off. I don't care about it. But, it's essential to keep the site going. You can't complain about it, because without impressing it onto people that they need to pay for the upkeep of the service, they won't.

So, how is this any different to advertising using Google down the side? Well, it isn't. Google needs to make money by selling advertising and authors should be given the opportunity to earn money for all the effort they put in, because after all, spending a couple of days writing a 10 page article on something is an action most people would like to be paid for even just a little.

Wikipedia License to be compatible with CC (1)

filbranden (1168407) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696704)

Then you can't use any of the data from Wikipedia anywhere else because it's GFDL.

Actually, recently Wikipedia announced [slashdot.org] that it's going to change its license to be compatible with Creative Commons.

Re:Attribution is the key (1)

Mazin07 (999269) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696928)

As for the advertising, even Wikipedia needs to earn it's keep. To be honest I really really object to trying to read an encyclopedia entry and being told that the WikiMedia conference is going to be on a certain date, taking up 1/4 of my screen at the top of the page, or that I need to donate to the cause. Fuck that. I want to turn that damn advert off. I don't care about it. But, it's essential to keep the site going. You can't complain about it, because without impressing it onto people that they need to pay for the upkeep of the service, they won't.
Click "Hide this Message."

Re:Attribution is the key (1)

nerdyalien (1182659) | more than 6 years ago | (#21697050)

sometimes, sources can wrong as well.

John Nash's biography (Beautiful Mind) claims he was homosexual. But later, some claimed it wasn't the case and book is wrong. So which is correct ???

Beautiful thing about Wikipedia is.... some of their sources are based on interviews (usually on youtube) and other rare stuff. But dynamic behaviour of internet (missing web pages, changes etc) surely causing the reliability of wikipeida.

Re:Attribution is the key (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21697156)

Wikipedia fails for one simple reason;...


I wish I had a website that was such a big "failure".

What is relevant human knowledge? (2, Interesting)

DJ Katty (1195877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696630)

It's a nice idea in theory. It's all in terms of 'human knowledge.' If I could get a best-of-breed encyclopedia/"Geeky Guide to (insert favorite show/TV/franchise/mythology here" then I'm down. I'll wiki things that I know are relevant to a topic of interest (Movies, a new programming language, what have you). But if I want to find something a little more niche' like if I want to find some new information or recall something of importance on a less then global scale (I.E. following the Lost Experience ARG or iLoveBees a while back), I'll either google it and look for a fan-site wiki (ala LostPedia). I think it could work. If on the GLAT, one of their answers includes death by grue, I'd like to think they can include topics that aren't furthering the development of the human race. I, for one, welcome our information gathering Google-Lords... if they get the right policy down.

Read it with a silent K and it makes sense... (2, Funny)

jmac1492 (1036880) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696634)

Google aKnol?

But I don't want them searching there.

Ad revenue for contributors? Bad idea (3, Interesting)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696636)

I can see it now: people will just insert stubs (or copy articles from other sources) for subjects that are likely to be popular search terms, for the sole purpose of reaping the ad revenues.

Also, will we see a new form of "typo squatting", where people create articles with titles like "Slahsdot", linking to the correct article but again generating ad revenue? Meh. (Or worse, the typo page comes up like the real, incorrect slahsdot url with the words I loathe most on any web page "sponsored links", or "popular searches", and a bunch of link spam).

Re:Ad revenue for contributors? Bad idea (1)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696958)

Attaching money to information is always bad. Press for profit obviously has its drawbacks (see 24 cable news in america), and this is essentially what I think this will turn into, like you seem to as well. I could see articles made artificially controversial just to bring in revenues. When compiling information, independence and objectivity are paramount and introducing profit into the mix only ever leads to problems.

Coincidence?? (1)

Janos421 (1136335) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696706)

From : http://www.theage.com.au/news/biztech/google-can-extort-and-dominate-the-world-study/2007/12/05/1196812806297.html [theage.com.au]
"Most material written today was in some way based on Google and Wikipedia - and if those did not reflect reality, a distortion was possible, the researchers said, recalling biased contributions frequently placed on Wikipedia.

Furthermore there is some indication of cooperation between Google and Wikipedia. Sample statistics showed that randomly selected Wiki entries consistently ranked higher on Google than on other search engines, the Graz team said."
Weird isn'it?

procs and convs, vs wikipedia (1)

outlander78 (527836) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696710)

The positive aspects are authors getting paid for their work and an alternative to wikipedia, which as I learn more about the managers I am increasingly loathe to use. Perhaps competition, or the thread of competition, will get wikipedia in line.

The bad news is that some management system will still be required, and that authors getting paid will have great potential for people participating for monetary means - trying to get the "first post" for an artical and therefore the income, or copying from elsewhere, or doing all kinds of other nefarious things that don't happen with wikipedia.

Whatever happens, this sounds good, and I hope it does get released.

Sounds Good! (1)

savagemic (1203196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696756)

Looking forward to seeing this.

Brilliant (3, Insightful)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696772)

Sometimes I think that Wikipedia and now Knol are just reinventing the World Wide Web. They're hosting pages that anybody can post and edit. Each page has some information and links to other pages. But they are providing at least one useful service, limiting which pages and changes are visible.

Wikipedia controls changes at the word level. Any nontrivial article is a compilation from many writers, some of which may be feuding over the content. This is like an open source software project where anybody can edit the source and you must rely on some benevolent wizards to keep the whole cohesive.

Knol controls changes at the article level and seems to be more like typical open source projects. Anybody can send changes to the maintainer who decides which make it into the mainstream release. Of course somebody could fork the project, but unless the fork is a real improvement over the original it won't attract attention.

Overall Wikipedia's model is probably faster and Knol's is more stable if Google can keep it organized. Knol would also have the big advantage of actually being citable.

Quick! Write a bunch of articles! (3, Insightful)

Xelios (822510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696778)

What's to stop a few people from plagiarising (directly or indirectly) a bunch of articles on the most popular subjects as soon as this service opens?

Everyone can (3, Insightful)

sepluv (641107) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696786)

At risk of stating the obvious, this won't get anywhere near as popular as Wikipedia because everyone can't edit any article (thereby keeping the articles up-to-date and reaching decisions by consensus so ensuring accuracy)--although I do suspect that Google will be able to develop a better interface--Wikimedia is in desperate need of developers to work on RFEs.

An on-line encyclopedia model where articles are owned has been tried many times before by the likes of ODP/DMoz spin-off, the Open Encyclopedia Project [open-site.org] , and Slashdot spin-off, Everything2 [everything2.com] . In fact, nearly all the online encyclopedias [wikipedia.org] except Wikipedia have some kind of article ownership even if in some cases it isn't absolute (including Wikipedia predecessor, Nupedia, of course, which was abandoned when it was realised how successful the anyone-can-edit model they were trialing was).

Re:Everyone can (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21697078)

At the risk of stating the obvious, this won't get anywhere near as popular as Wikipedia...
At the risk of stating the obvious, [in the US and over the next 5 years] Mozart won't get anywhere near as popular as Britney Spears.

because everyone can't edit any article (thereby keeping the articles up-to-date and reaching decisions by consensus so ensuring accuracy)
A-ha, so that's why every the various academic journals I read are so accurate - because everyone can edit any article. Of course! And in true Orwellian style, when a new fact has been decided upon, the old is no longer relevant, so rather that writing a new piece which continues on from the old, we replace the article with something up-to-date. Of course! I forget how knowledge works now. Newton saw further not because he was standing on the shoulders of giants, but because of reaching decisions by consensus with his contemporaries. Knowledge is, after all, democratic - the truth can be decided by majority vote. Uhuh [encycloped...matica.com] .

An on-line encyclopedia model where articles are owned has been tried many times before
The web comprises either original research or precisely "an on-line encyclopedia model where articles are owned". That's what a set of connected, autonomous peers inevitably creates. And note that I'm using the loose Wikipedia defintion of "encyclopedia" rather than one which includes all the usual assumptions about editorial quality, etc. Hate to break it to you, but the web is quite successful - no matter how much Wales would prefer people to write on his pages rather than their own.

You are a boorish zealot, and I would not expect you to understand how Wikipedia is harming scholarship. Fortunately, I'm yet to meet an academic who believes wikipedia.org any more reliable than any other URL pulled out of a hat, but I've met several who believe that its marketing power makes it rather dangerous at convincing impressionable minds otherwise. Wikipedia is valuable as a way for special interests to preach their message, lazy schoolboys to do their homework, and low level information workers to obtain half-assed explanations of subjects they (fortunately) don't really need to understand fully anyway. Thank you, sepluv, for contributing toward this mediocracy - so much easier than encouraging people to lift themselves higher.

Summary wrong - only author can edit (2, Insightful)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696870)

From the linked article, knol is about highlighting authors, and while (from the article) there may be competing knol pages on the same subject, there is no mention of someone being able to edit someone else's work - only to review or comment on it.

This certainly sounds like a solution to the edit wars that plague WikiPedia (which is useful, but entirely unattractive to write for given how it is run. The visibility of competing knol articles will be determined by their usefulness as reflected by PageRank and would be saboteurs or self-promoters can only try to write a better (PageRank-ed) article - they can't corrupt someone elses work.

The most important thing to K-now (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696884)

Google's article doesn't answer the burning question: is the K in Knol pronounced or silent?

Oh you Knol, you are vile and vermicious!
You are slimy and soggy and squishous!
But we won't take heed of ya,
We've got Wikipedia,
So hop it and don't get ambitious!

All it takes is microtransactions. (4, Interesting)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696920)

Streamline micropayments for the entire humanity and you've won. You've won against Amazon. Wikipedia. PayPal. Pearson Education. And Citygroup.

Honestly, all we need is a "Google Bank" sort of thing, managing microtransactions for everyone on the planet with zero-fuss international transactions. Google actually has the power to handle this.

If they pull through with this add-powered thing it is likely they can move up against Wikipedia in terms of content amount. Add in comments, ratings and suggestions to knol and you have a semi-wikipedia sort of thing that even pays of for the effort of the authors. Not the worst idea if you think of it. It could very well work.

My 2 cents.

Fractally Recreating the Internet (2, Insightful)

NetSettler (460623) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696948)

The key idea behind the knol project is to highlight authors. Books have authors' names right on the cover, news articles have bylines, scientific articles always have authors -- but somehow the web evolved without a strong standard to keep authors names highlighted.

Hmmm. A globally distributed entity that lets you create pages full of information where you control your own content and can link to other people's stuff... There's an idea. But gee, it sounds so familiar. Where have I heard that idea before?

On the one hand, it looks like a simple land grab of the Internet. People are already doing precisely this thing--we call them web sites. But they aren't enough in Google's control, so one might argue this is a simple move to give them greater access and control and ownership of all the world's content.

On the other hand, there are some evolutionary inevitabilities of the net which go unresolved and this could be a bid at solving that--I'd say a step toward, but I'd like to see robust competition for the space, not a lemming-like dive for this as if it's all we're getting.

When the web originally came out, there was the hint of micropayments going to authors. That never happened. Portals figured out they could just charge for access and never let the money go to who it was accessing. This turned the economics of the web on its head because people invested money and time and energy in creating master works of all kinds, without being reimbursed in many cases. Some have figured out how to make businesses, but those are rarely content creators. The special skill of knowing something is not the same as the special skill of knowing how to build an enterprise web business. There are many, many writers and artists who make things that are useful yet don't know how to make enough money on it. So maybe this could help.

And there's the other thing: We're all aging. That means that the content producers will start to die, and their works, the things people depend on, will go away. Archive.org will rescue some of that, but in its present form, that's not a robust solution. This would at least address the survivability issue.

I would consider this at least something of a success not if Google gets a lot of content, but if good authors felt they could just sit down and create content and expect to be reimbursed for it in a way that fed their family, let them go on vacations, paid their medical bills, and allowed them to retire. If it's just dribs and drabs of pennies, it's doing nothing for society and everything for Google and it still doesn't solve anything.

Then again, there's a big risk that it will bias all writing toward an advertising model, making our world even more driven by "fashion" and less by "substance" than it already is. I'm not sure that's good.

And it's endowing a single entity with a lot of power over the world. I'd like to see other serious entrants in this space to keep the competition (if there can even be any) honest.

Right now it just sounds like the Internet all over again, but with Google's Terms of Service.

Re:Fractally Recreating the Internet (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21697090)

yeah, psycho, creating controversies where none exist will surely be a consequence to make money..... or in your case the motivation will be mod points. go away. If writers and artists weren't such pansies maybe they wouldn't get trampled at every opportunity.

Better than Google Answers? (1)

L505 (884811) | more than 6 years ago | (#21696950)

I think it will be better than the "Google Answers" service, since knol gives more people a chance to make money and become famous. It will be more community driven than Google Answers and more popular, I'm guessing. It has a smaller entry point than Google Answers.. i.e. I don't even know how I'd sign up for Google Answers to become an expert.. but then I've never looked. In other words, not too many people know about google answers, but I think people will know about knol, for some reason. Probably the reason being that it will be like a wikipedia but more incentive is there.. money for writing.

Google World Empire (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#21697028)

Is it just me or is Google slowly taking over the entire internet. I mean seriously - its getting to the point that anything you want to do you can do with Google. You can write documents, spreadsheets, calculate stuff. Soon they'll have their social networking site that will compete against facebook and myspace. They have video services, etc. Now they are going to go up against Wikipedia? Oh yeah, and I'm told they have searching capability as well.

In all honesty, you have to give them credit for not resting on their success which seems to be the case all to often. Not to mention, they are doing most things better then their predecessors, I just think its interesting.

How Do You Assure Authority? (1)

trydk (930014) | more than 6 years ago | (#21697088)

One problem with Wikipedia is the editing and reediting of articles -- often amounting to the ridiculous like when two parties fight for different perspectives.

Another problem with Wikipedia is the lack of authority -- well, maybe not always lack of authority as such but lack of ability to confirm the authority. You do not need authority to change an article.

I do not see how Google's system changes any of that.

Where are the peer reviews? Where are the bona fide subject matter expert moderators?

Until those problems are solved, any publicly edited information will be of dubious value. (Before you start flaming me: I am aware that experts are not necessarily right but at least they could (and should) be selected for their credibility in the societies of their field.)

Objectivity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21697144)

Any author who chooses to allow ads on their page will be looking for some profits (otherwise I can see no reason allowing ads)

And for the ad links to be profitable they have to be clicked. So those authors will probably write an article that promotes the adverts. Not obviously promotional, of course, because then their page will become unpopular. So they will try to take a more subtle line. This will spawn many articles which are not quite objective, but are close enough to the middle ground that they will be believed or are difficult to argue against.

Imagine an article about SUVs. Thanks to related ads it will probably show adverts for SUVs and related things. So the author will try to present SUVS in a subtly positive light. The net effect of this will be a shift in general opinions in favour of SUVs.

So if you use this site, take the advert hosting pages with a healthy dose of skepticism.
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