Knol is a ridiculous scheme by Google to create a Wikipedia onto it’s own, except one that’s worse. Knol takes the idea that there is actually a single person out there who is an expert on a field and uses them to write an article on it, and through everybody else going, “Hey, great Knol” and makes it the Knol on that subject. Google now has about 100,000 of these published in about 5 months of being open to the public.
Okay, so maybe it isn’t such a crazy idea, except for one little problem. Have you ever found a single person who is THE defintive authority on a subject, no matter how narrow? When was the last person you ever met or heard of someone who really was THE expert in something? Anybody heard of that person?
One better, last time you were on a college campus and heard a professor proclaim that this textbook had absolutelty no errors in it and was to be the authority on a subject (and it wasn’t the professor’s own book)?
Both of these has never happened and never will. One person can not and does not contain all the information to be THE expert in a subject. You can be an expert in a field, for instance a Doctorate of French History, is an expert of French History. Not however, this doctorate is not the only expert nor even the last remaining expert, there are others who are experts, other people will build upon her/his work in the future and become an expert.
The crowds will make mistakes, but at the very least the collective intelligence of dozens or hundreds of people working away on an article to make it better, provides a collective wisdom that Google will never get with it’s experiment.
No thank you, Knol, I will stick with Wikipedia.