Earlier this week, Google started to invite a selected group of people to try a new, 'free' tool that they are developing called "Knol."
Knol appears to be a more formalized and authoritative version of wikipedia. The key behind the project is to highlight the authority of content authors. Their idea is not lost on those in libraryland: knowing who wrote what will significantly help individuals make better use of web-published content.
The goal is to create 'Knols; to cover a wide variety of topics ranging from scientific concepts,, to historical, to how-to entries. Readers will be able to submit comments, questions, make edits, and add content. Readers will be able to rate a knol or write a review of it. Knols will also include references and links to additional information. There are also plans to create a level of search quality will be to ranked when the Knols appear in Google search results.
Google will not serve as an editor and all editorial responsibilities and content will rest with the authors. Google will not ask for any exclusivity on any of this content and will make that content available to any other search engine.
Since this project is currently vaporware and only screenshots are available (only those select few have access) I have not had a chance to see it live. (Hey, guys, how about an invite!?) I am also curious to read any of the licensing agreements to see who actually 'owns' the content. Chances are it is not the author.
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