Google has announced a new wikipedia-like project, entitled ‘knol’. Short for knowledge, the project aims to have an encyclopedia type experience but with more emphasis on the author, rather than anonymous multiple contributors. There will not be editorial contributions from Google, but authors including ads will get revenue.
An example knol has been put up on the Google blog. Google says that the emphasis will be on large numbers of posts, ranked by users and views to encourage quality. Peer review seems to encourage good writers to become better rated and more successful. Added to the potential to earn money, this endeavour could provide a good potential way to create a freelance online writer business model. It looks like Knol will be less comprehensive/consistent across the entire volume of data than Wikipedia, but with better quality at the top end. It’s a similar model to Mahalo, only with the backing of perhaps the biggest internet company out there.