Google [GOOG] Wednesday launched another site that’s like an already existing one, Knol. In essence it’s Wikipedia, the difference being that its authors are credited as opposed to anonymous. So it’s About.com, then. The idea is like Wikipedia combined with an ad-driven blog. Right now, there’s mostly medical articles, so it looks like Knol will work more like About.com – more often than not, you’ll get to a Knol article through a topic search instead of going in through the homepage. This could work for Knol, although brevity is part of what makes About.com’s articles appealing. This could also work against Knol, as it puts it in direct competition with Wikipedia’s Medpedia, whose preview launched today, created under the aegis of Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Michigan’s medical schools. Tough competition if Knol stays mainly
The most striking thing about Knol is how difficult and annoying it is to get to, since Google doesn’t own the domain name. www.knol.com belongs to a Dutch vacuum cleaner company. Their site has seen a lot of activity since Google announced the launch of the site (right now, it's actually easiest to find Google's Knol through their site).
If you’re going to name your site with a clumsy neologism, you should secure the rights to that name, or make yours easier than http://knol.google.com (www.knol.google.com does not work). Unless the Dutch company sells Google their site, and it doesn’t seem like they will since they’re getting a lot of traffic from it – as their website says, “Google works for Knol” - Knol is going to remain a hard to find. It seems like Google’s trying to bury its own product.
Sure, you want brand presence wherever you can get it, but will there ever be a “there” there for Knol? Or does Google just have some kind of press-release war going on with Apple, whoever launches the most stuff fastest wins?