Knol: One More Thing

January 26, 2009

The GOOG’s Matt Cutts, writing on his personal Web log, offers up a parental “Four Things You Need to Know about Knol.” Gentle reader, the story is here. I assume the use of “you” by Mr. Cutts meant me. I looked at his points from my goose-like perspective.

I liked the idea that Google doesn’t favor its own products and services. The assertion may be accurate in terms of Knol but if you search for “enterprise search” you get some results that place Google as the seventh hit in the results list this morning. There’s an ad for a Google Webinar. This supports the assertion that Google is not favoring Google services.

Second, he points out that Knol is “doing fine”. This is a bit like Amazon talking about “objects” in its cloud services. The problem is what’s an object and what’s “fine” mean. Knol has about 100,000 articles. I assume that 100,000 is fine. If so, then why is there a Knol for Dummies campaign underway here?

Third, the Knol team is moving. I agree. Subtle changes creep into Knol; for example, the notion of “authoritative” has obviously been tweaked by the Knol team. Mr. Cutts enjoins me to “write a quick article or put some information on the Web.” My question is, “What’s authoritative mean?’

In short, the “four things” are interesting. The one thing that my research Knol is / was supposed to do was provide inputs to the Google knowledge bases. “Some information” does not match up with the disclosures in Google’s public documents–for example, US20070038600–about its knowledge bases.

Knol certainly warrants observation. More on Knol appears in my forthcoming Google study, The Digital Gutenberg.

Stephen Arnold, January 26, 2009


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