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Criticism of Google's Knol Project  (View post)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

Tuesday, December 18, 2007
12 years ago6,281 views

Previous discussion...:

blogoscoped.com/forum/118356.h ...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> Jason adds, “The fact that the [Knol] article in the released
> screenshot was authored by a Stanford University
> academic is basically all you need to know about how
> Google views content on the web. It doesn’t count as
> knowledge until it’s given to you by an expert.”

(Wanted to add: the name of her is Rachel Manber, presumably related/ married to Udi Manber, the Google vice president of engineering who announced Knol.)

Sohil [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Is Knol seriously the final name and not just a code name?

Sohil [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

P.S. I don't see why Peer Review is such a bad thing.

Charlie Perry [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

I like the idea of a set format and structure for peer reviewed articles on the web. It's just a pity that it's being introduced as another Google product and not as a web standard.

beussery [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Seems like peer review would add some level of "trust" to posts. If PageRank can be compared to citations in academic research papers it seems like knol entries could be compared to articles published in journals, maybe?

As far as the name I am a little surprised they did not go with something like "u know" (unit of knowledge) :)! I bet this is a code name and not the name folks will see later. Oh well, my two cents...

beussery [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

[put at-character here]Philipp Lenssen

"Udi & Rachel Manber"
search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=A ...

J. McNair [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Looks like we're stuck with the name Knol, at least for US and UK English. It's not that bad of a name, a bit Web 2.0 without being annoying. Is it pronounced "nole", "nawl" or "nahl"? I wonder...

"U Know" might sound a little too urban hip-hop for international tastes.

So...Knol articles have to be written by experts from the start. Then they are peer reviewed, edited and revised with extensive bibliographies, citations and credits. Should this make Knol strong enough for scholarly reference, as all academic programs disallow citing Wikipedia as reference? I'd say yes. High school and college students have a credible way to cheat now ;-)

Didn't Larry Sanger (the OTHER Wikipedia guy) try this twice?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Speaking of Larry Sanger, he was interviewed in regards to Knol, and published his answers on his blog:

blog.citizendium.org/2007/12/1 ...

<<There are a few problems.

First, quality. It looks to me as if Knol is a high-level attempt to do what many others have done. Countless websites already exist that invite signed essays and information (remember h2g2.com?) and other content for public rating. Time will tell, but Knol will probably resemble other such websites, and have a huge amount of mediocre content, with a little excellent content mixed in. The concept does not sound like a model that would attract many genuine experts. I say that because the notion that anyone may write a “knol” and be compared and ranked by “the crowd” — not by expert peers — is apt to attract relatively little notice from experts who are very careful about where they publish. Still, other Web companies have had reasonably good success making money with such Web services, and Google might make a lot of money with theirs.

Second, lack of buy-in from the free culture crowd. Many of the sort of people who contribute knowledge to projects like Wikipedia and the Citizendium are likely to be very skeptical of a giant corporation organizing such a project, particularly with Google Ads appearing on the articles. It does not appear to be in the spirit of the free culture movement. Still, it is good that Google has decided to make ads optional.

Third, lack of collaboration.>>

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I asked Google if they want to stick with the name Knol. They answer:

<<Because we are still only in the first phase of testing, we cannot guarantee that this will be the same name (or that the service will ever go live).>>

Haochi [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

There's a CC-licensed photo (by-*nc*-nd) in the screenshot of Knol that Google provided. So since Google, as a big corporation, makes money off those contents (Google Ads on the right of the pic), does that mean they are violating the copyright law? (that's no way a "thumbnail" of the photo) What about future use of CC-licensed non-commercial-use photos on Knol (if knol ever go live, that is)?
screenshot: google.com/help/knol_screensho ...

Bloggers!= Big Corporations

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Non-commercial doesn't mean you can't put ads next to the image. It means you can't sell it or incorporated in a product others buy.

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> Is it pronounced "nole", "nawl" or "nahl"? I wonder...

I'm pronouncing it like NOLL (as in DOLL) – like the beginning of the word KNOWLEDGE (although I guess I pronounce that NOLLIDGE).

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Another bit: Google registered GoogleKnol.com on December 7 2007.
whois.net/whois_new.cgi?d=goog ...

Andy Wong [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I think Wikipedia is loosely moderated, so the contents do pass peer review by panels, at least at statistic level. This is good enough, as long as I don't expect the contents are directly as good as those in britannica encyclopedia or other traditional encyclopedia books which written by well-selected domain experts. The most important thing to me is Wikipedia provides an entry point of gaining general knowledge, cross-references and keywords for further searches.

If I expected Wikipedia or other encyclopedia books gave me accurate and full answers, such expectation will fail, as there's no such thing that a single source can give you full and accurate answers.

People need to have skills of researching on multiple knowledge bases.

Sohil [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Thanks for the added info Philipp.

Also whatever happened to Citizendium? Isn't it very similar to what Knol is trying to do?

Moris [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Folks...Knol is the next big thing...instead of criticizing and analyzing what knol would do...

Just get on with the work...Seriously...most of the bloggers think they are smarter than Google....they have already thought what you are thinking and they are paid quite handsomely for it...they have Ph'd by the 100's..not fools..

get on with the work!

Sohil [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

^ Since when did having employees with PhDs make you right all the time?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> they have already thought what you are thinking and
> they are paid quite handsomely for it...they have Ph'd
> by the 100's..not fools..

Just like Google employees in 2002 fully foresaw they would shut down their other experts service experiment, Google Answers, in 2006?
Oh wait, you mean they might not have foreseen that? ;)

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

The most interesting part of Larry Sanger's blog post is the PS where he writes:

> It’s not lost on me that this is similar
> to whatsyourarticle.org/

And the most interesting thing about whatsyourarticle is that every contributor gets one page only. If Google adopted that policy for Knol, it would keep all the spammers out.

Of course there are some people who are experts about more than one topic, but it's affordable to lose them because there are multiple experts available for almost every topic.

Ron C. [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

Philipp, they have also registered Googlepedia:

whois.net/whois_new.cgi?d=goog ...

Go figure... lol

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

<<Where wikipedia seeks to create a homogeneous, objective article – Knols can provide fragmented, subjective perspectives that can be evaluated in the context of their authors.>>

blog.radioactiveyak.com/2007/1 ...

Alex Filippi [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

The most interesting view of this story is from webandrank.com has decided to make knoloogle.com whatever happened to knol

Bob.K [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Sohil is right.

The name KNOL didn't get a good response from the public and was just a codename from the beginning. It will be called Google's Universal Encyclopedia, or "Uni Pedia" which is a much cooler name.

Guessing if this does launch, it will be at: unipedia.google.com

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

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