I came across Google’s Knol service quite some time ago, but didn’t really pay it much mind at the time as it was in their Lab area, ie under development.
On July 23, 2008 Google made Knol available to everyone, and you can read Google’s press release here.
It will be a rival to Wikipedia, which I’m sure most of us have used at some point to gain insight into a subject we no naught about.
Unlike Wikipedia, however, authors will be named (and hopefully not shamed!) and will be responsible for the content that is made public. Google says:
The key principle behind Knol is authorship. Every knol will have an author (or group of authors) who put their name behind their content. It’s their knol, their voice, their opinion. We expect that there will be multiple knols on the same subject, and we think that is good.
If you contribute to the Knol, you can invite other authors to comment or invite reviews from your peers. As Google puts it:
Knols include strong community tools which allow for many modes of interaction between readers and authors. People can submit comments, rate, or write a review of a knol.
So what better way than to test it out for myself. If you already have a Google sign-in, then you can just sign into Knol and start typing something of which, hopefully, you do know something about. You can write a Bio for yourself, and set up your preferences, for example: what type of copyright you want on the material (using the Creative Commons tools); whether you want Google ads (Google shares the revenue from these ads with the author); and whether you want any old passerby to be able to edit your finely honed words, or not.
It was all very straightforward, and my Knol entitled Virtual Assistant (VA) is now available for everyone on the planet (with access to the Internet) to see!
And, yes, I will be asking some virtual assistant colleagues of mine to review it, as it will need some more detailed information on there.
For you authors out there with a special area of expertise, get on over to Knol and contribute to the WWW’s new fount of knowledge.