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Knol: The State of Play  (View post)

Ron [PersonRank 0]

Wednesday, March 3, 2010
11 years ago5,100 views

Knol was not a "killer", it was "disruptive".

As in disrupting something that is fundamentally good with something that is fundamentally flowed. Not the first nor the last such Google move.

Sam [PersonRank 3]

11 years ago #

The biggest difference between knol and geocities is that geocities was the largest in its category and had millions of visitors a month when it was shutdown and still is higher on google trends.

Liam [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

It wasn't *such* a terrible idea – it aimed to address the main flaw of Wikipedia – a lack of authority. But it does appear to have failed in that aim – Wikipedia's wisdom-of-crowds-but-especially-the-last-author approach seems to have trumped the knol project's wisdom-of-authors approach.
I don't see any knol results when I normally type in queries to Google, but I see an awful lot of Wikipedia results. So even Google seems to accord Wikipedia much more subject authority.

Seth Finkelstein [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

The results seem to definitively refute the idea that Google would favor Knol in search rankings because it's a Google project.

Ron [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

> It wasn't *such* a terrible idea – it aimed to address the main flaw of Wikipedia – a lack of authority.

a. Not just an idea. A resource consuming, environment shaping project. The difference is not semantic.
b. Wikipedia may have various flaws but for the (numerous) people it serves, lack of authority is not the main (or even a major) one.
c. If you are one of those who rank others by authority, then yes, lack of authority is a problem to you. Via that (distorted) lens, Knol may have value (to you).
d.That is the fundamental flaw.
e. Yep. "flaw" now "flow". We all have them :)

Piewacket [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

Of course Knol failed

The problem with lots of similar services over the years (themestream,, etc) is that they try to endow authority but actually end up enabling cranks. The reason why Wikipedia works is that it's authorless and editable. They are not disadvantages, and never have been.

Q [PersonRank 2]

11 years ago #

It's nice to have a place to share my tiny pieces of knowledge. Reports I've written for school, howto's for my computer etc. Don't want to think about hosting my own website, and not all is fit for Wikipedia.

Omnivorous [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

Well done Roger: I'd wondered about several features that you mentioned (specifically the "nofollow" policy) and your article is the first that mentions it.

Though Google's support for the Knol database is head-and-shoulders better than most Google products, it is still substandard. Knol editors should regularly be updating key contributors with news and feature changes. The Knol support pages themselves are useful only to novices.

Peter Gluck [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

KNOL is just a great opportunity lost by Google- howvever not irreversibly.
I have repeatedly tried to convince the Google specialists to take in account the hierarchy of knowledge and to extend KNOL with WISD i.e really wise papers and with PRED i.e predictions by the best experts in any field.
It is still not late to do it.

Justin [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

I thought Google would have bought, but it turns out otherwise.

The difference between Knol and Wikipedia is that wiki articles usually have umbrella-term titles and the details are given out in the sections whereas in Knol, these sections are all scattered around under different, confusing and not-easy-to-search titles.

Narayana Rao [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

This is good account of knol. In some subjects there is a lot of good content on knol. The content will keep improving.

Will Johnson [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

The author of this piece obviously doesn't realize that the Google trends graph stopped tracking Knol a while ago.

That's not because Knol has no traffic... duh. It's because the trender is broken on subdomains probably.

Of course checking the English Knol Portal ...

gives us the useful link to the Quantcast Audience Profile

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Will, Google Website Trends works just fine for subdomains. Compare the results for and for example: ...

The reason Google Website Trends doesn't work for Knol is, as stated in the article, that Google rejects queries to view trends at

The Google Search Trends graph has certainly not "stopped tracking Knol a while ago", as you can see from this link: ...

It's just that, when plotted on the same chart as searches for Wikipedia, the searches for Knol are usually too small to show.

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

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