Google Knol, the Googley competition for Wikipedia, was announced with some fanfare and really seemed like a great idea. The ‘knol’ stands for “Knowledge”, and articles are written by people who verify their identities and presumably have some knowledge of the topic. Community ratings are used to filter good from bad knol posts, presumably leaving the best topical coverage at the top of the knol heap.
However as with many Google innovations outside of pure keyword search knol appears to be making gaining little traction with the internet community. I say this because I rarely see the sited linked to or referenced by blogs or websites and also from my own knol page for “Beijing” which as the top “Beijing” and “Beijing China” listing you’d think would have seen fairly big traffic over the past months which included the Beijing Olympics. Yet in about six months that page has only seen 249 total views – that is less than many of my blog posts would see in just a few days here at Joe Duck.
So what’s up with the decisions people make about using one resource over another? Like Wikipedia Google Knol is an excellent resource. Reading my Beijing page, for example, would give you some quick and helpful insights into “must see” attractions there. It’s no travel guide but it would prove a lot more helpful than many sites that outrank it at Google for the term “Beijing”. Google appears to have relegated their own knol listings to obscure rankings – perhaps because linkage is very low given the low use of knol. Like many Google search innovations knol appears bound to the dustbin of obscurity as Wikipedia continues to dominate the rankings for many terms (as they should – it’s generally the best coverage although generally very weak for travel because they fail to capture commercial info adequately).
My simple explanation would be that we are prisoners of habit and have trouble managing the plethora of information resources that lie – literally – at our fingertips. We all have yet to understand much about how the internet works, and how inadequate a picture one gets if they simply stick to a keyword search and hope for the best.