There are already many complaints, especially from the major competitors, about the Google omnipresence on the Web and still the Mountain View company has found a new product to launch on the market: Knol, an open encyclopedia where anyone can contribute.
The first thing most people will think about Knol is that it is trying to copy and compete with Wikipedia, but Google denies this consideration pointing at the major differences between the two platform.
The first major difference is related to the authorship accountability: Wikipedia lets anyone to edit, even anonymously, any content of the encyclopedia and this openness is often criticized of bias because it is possible create contradictory revisions, improper censorship, and many other not objective modifications; Knol, on the other end, requires the user to provide and authenticate their names so it can be attached to the revision.
Knol will offer another important tool to improve the quality of the articles: readers will be able to rank the usefulness of entries, adding comments and asking questions to the author.
Beside that there is another important difference: Knol can include, if the author actually want it, advertisement on the article pages and the authors can earn a cut from the money generated by those ads.
A criticism toward Knol, that is imperative to keep in check in the future, is how Google will index Knol pages on its search results; many columnist around the net are already questioning if Google will play fair on the indexing of Knol, especially compared to the competitors like Wikipedia, or if it will try to boost its visibility.
Google Knol’s home page: http://knol.google.com/.