Earlier this week, Google started inviting a selected group of people to try a new, free tool that they are calling "knol", which stands for a unit of knowledge. Their goal, According to this blog post, is to encourage people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it. The tool is still in development and this is just the first phase of testing. For now, using it is by invitation only. But they wanted to share with everyone the basic premises and goals behind this project.
With knol google aim to create a huge online repository of user generated information which will be available for other search engines to crawl and index and which will also share a substantial revenue share from adverts with article authors.
A knol on a particular topic is meant to be the first thing someone who searches for this topic for the first time will want to read. The goal is for knols to cover all topics, from scientific concepts, to medical information, from geographical and historical, to entertainment, from product information, to how-to-fix-it instructions. Google will not serve as an editor in any way, and will not bless any content. All editorial responsibilities and control will rest with the authors.
Knols will include strong community tools. People will be able to submit comments, questions, edits, additional content, and so on. Anyone will be able to rate a knol or write a review of it. Knols will also include references and links to additional information. At the discretion of the author, a knol may include ads. If an author chooses to include ads, Google will provide the author with substantial revenue share from the proceeds of those ads.