So what is one to make of Google’s latest project – a social content tool called knol that looks and smells a lot like Wikipedia.
Is this just Google throwing yet another piece of Web 2.0 spaghetti on the wall to see if it sticks? Or is Google really serious about creating a new content destination where authors can write authoritative articles, and share in any revenue generated from the Web page? Nick Carr takes a shot at explaining Google’s motives, while the New York Times provides an overview on knol.
As much as Google is all powerful and had successl with non-search services (GMail, Google Reader), it has also had more than its fair share of duds: Froogle, Orkut, Picasa, blog search. Just because Google has launched a Wikipedia-like service doesn’t mean the world will beat down its door.
But it’s Google, and everyone is fascinated with Google so getting on the this-is-going-to-kill-Wikipedia movement seems like the right thing to do.
And here’s another consideration: the more Google pushes out into new markets/services, the greater the risk of inciting a backlash. At some point, people are going to realize they’re completely dependent on a single supplier for a wide variety of services. And as much as Google’s service work, people like variety, and wide variety of players lends itself to a healthy competitive ecosystem.
For some excellent perspective on knol and Google’s expansion in other markets, Ars Technica is a must-read. I also like Deep Jive Interests‘ take on how Google is treading on dangerous group with Knol.
“Google’s Knols sound like a way for Google to fiddle with its Golden Goose, so that it can maximize how much it can milk it for its Golden Eggs. Its got to be very careful, however, with how sharp its trying to be with this new experiment (particularly as there are no editors and no obvious sense of quality control), lest it lop off the head of said goose.”