Google’s new Wikipedia competition misses several at-bats. The three draws the Knol team has for the site that I’ve heard mentioned are:
1) you’ll get credit for writing the article.
Okay, how is that different from just putting something on your own website?
2) you can get money from the AdSense ads on the page.
Okay, how is that different from putting ads on your website that now hosts your article?
3) People will have an altruistic urge to benefit humanity.
Uh, no, they won’t.
And my final reason why Knol will fail is that there’s no obvious reason to use it. Either contribute to Wikipedia or post your own article on your blog.
If Google really wishes to aid search, they’d bring back Google Answers. There if people had really specific questions they could place bids and though they paid for the answer, the answers were then publicly available.