Google knol is a promising development in online information, where “experts” will write concise, authoritative articles on many topics and the community will rank and comment on those articles. It may be a great way to combine quality content with social networking, though I’m not clear if the quality content producers will be rewarded with more than just the knol-edge that they have brought more good info into the world.
Although I don’t think they’d talk much about this, I think Google has begun to understand the degree to which adsense has hurt the online information landscape – basically by rewarding those who are most clever at flooding the web with low quality content rather than those who have provided high quality content. Likewise with linking, where SEO abuses and excesses and Google decisions have made it increasingly hard to separate the information wheat from the adsense chaff.
Enter knol, which will be a community policed content system. Basically a good idea, and as I’ve noted many times before Google is masterful at doing good things that happen to help them solve some potential revenue problems. As Nick Carr noted yesterday Google’s high ranks for un-monetized Wikipedia content aren’t putting many Christmas presents under the tree for Google, and knol may shift some advertising focus back in house.