Google, who also own and run Blogger that hosts this blog, launched their entry into the information collection market. Knol (the name comes from Google's invention of the 'knol' as a unit of knowledge).
This is the same space occupied by such people as Encyclopedia Britannica, Wikipedia and Seth Godin's Squidoo. All collections of information with various ways of creating, linking and editing.
After the announcement there have been a large number of people comparing Knol to Wikipedia. Frankly, I wonder why. My first thought when I read about and visited Knol was that it appeared to be a less laid back version of Squidoo.
Knol is going to be a collection of pages devoted to a single topic authored by one person (though the can choose 'collaborators'). Authors can choose to get a share of ad income or not show ads. Squidoo is a collection of pages devoted to a single topic authored by one person. Authors can choose to get a share of ad income or not show ads. Hmmm, seem to quite similar.
Wikipedia, on the other hand, is a collection of pages where anyone can edit the page and nobody owns it. A totally different concept.
I'm not saying that Knol should not be welcomed into the market. I'm just saying that it shouldn't be compared to Wikipedia alone. It's not a totally original idea either, Squidoo have been doing something similar for quite a while.
There are always big questions with projects like this. First, what will the feel of the collection be. Squidoo, for example, is laid back and full of a lot of self-promotion and marketing. Squidoo encourages authors by promoting the possibility of making some money off your contributions. Wikipedia has a more factual feel and relies on public interest since it is all anonymous.
I'll be watching with interest to see where knol goes.