Googles Knol is now live. Knol is part wiki, part blog, and part social computing platform though it is most often being compared with Wikipedia. Essentially Knol is an information repository, but where it differs from Wikipedia is that knols, or pieces of knowledge, require a verified author. The idea being that a reader is likely to find an article on say "macro-economics in Macedonia more authorititive if it is written by a verifiable subject matter expert, than if it is anonymously compiled ala Wikipedia.
Its going to be interesting to watch Knol over the next few months, especially to see if the SME approach works better than the community approach of Wikipedia. Im not sold on the idea of Knol just yet, even reputable authors can write with a slant, the reader will be forced to read through the comments to find contra-opinions and decide for themselves whether the knol is accurate, much like they do when reading Wikipedia. Well also likely see organized campaigns to spam Knol, and push ratings of controversial authors down (or up) based on a particular message or agenda. I suspect as well that About.com is in for a bit of a shock, it seems to me that Knol is basically About with social community capabilities.
Still, enterprise knowledge managers ought to watch Knol very carefully, the capabilities provided by Knol are ideal for an enterprise intranet, as an alternative or complement to wikis. Now whos going to be the first to integrate presence into Knol author bios?
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