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Google Knol: Snooze & Lose

Posted on 12.14.2007
Google has begun inviting a selected group of people to try a new author publishing platform called "Knol", which stands for "unit of knowledge". Google's goal is to encourage people who know a lot about a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it. According to the official Google Blog post, "We believe that many do not share that knowledge today simply because it is not easy enough to do that."

One of the more interesting aspects of the platform are its community tools. Users will be able to submit comments, questions, edits, additional content, rate a knol, and write reviews. Couple that with free hosting, the ability to enable advertising and a potential promise that the content will make it into the SERPs and you've got a real winner. "Once testing is completed, participation in knols will be completely open, and we cannot expect that all of them will be of high quality. Our job in Search Quality will be to rank the knols appropriately when they appear in Google search results. We are quite experienced with ranking web pages, and we feel confident that we will be up to the challenge."

In my opinion this has trouble written all over it. Besides the fact that Google will essentially be indexing its own content (which some will consider to be a slight on content producers) sites such as Wikipedia and other topic-specific and human powered search engines, directories and knowledge portals like Mahalo will over time be devalued (if not in the SERPs than in the minds of users). But do yourself a favor, if you get an invite, don't snooze - use it - or lose out on what could be some great traffic.

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