Google Knol: The End of Editorial?
By oracletechnet on Dec 13, 2007
As many of you may know, OTN runs a full-fledged publishing operation: We recruit authors, acquire manuscripts for a fee, review them on a technical value level, and then edit/produce them for publication in HTML.
This morning, I read about a new Google offering called knol, now in Beta (what else?), that will allow authors to self-publish into a massive knowledge base. In essence, Google will offer a metadata-rich template that support comments, Q&A,
wiki-style edits etc.; embedded ads will be an option. Obviously this knowledge base will be exposed to the world via Google search. Think of it like a blog that consists of a single piece of content.
This effort is a reflection of the complete and total breakdown of the traditional editorial model, in which the "editor" determines what you should read and the publisher determines how to promote it. Instead, the author is full control; dis-intermediation is complete.
Is our publishing operation about to join the dinosaurs in the "ashbin of history"? I'm starting to think that OTN needs to take a completely different form: as an aggregator, not a platform. The Googleverse is the only platform now.
Update: Several commenters have declared knol a Wikipedia competitor, but I don't know if that's true. Wikipedia is all about collaborative authoring, whereas knol appears to be all about personal authoring (and it's not clear that collaborative editing is even supported). Nevertheless, "innocent bystanders" are never immune to accidental injury.