New Knol developments

Google launched Knol about a year ago. The big worry back then was that Google might favor Knol in our search rankings. I stopped around various places on the net to debunk that idea back then, but I think it’s safe to call this idea fully debunked now. As I said six months ago:

Google Knol does not receive any sort of boost or advantage in Google’s rankings. When Knol launched, some people asked questions about this. I dutifully trundled around the web and said that Knol would not receive any special benefits in our scoring/ranking for search. With the benefit of six months’ worth of hindsight, I hope everyone can agree that Knol doesn’t get some special boost or advantage in Google’s rankings.

I think we can call that idea completely debunked now.

In the mean time, the Knol team hasn’t been standing still. In a recent announcement on the Google Blog, the Public Library of Science is starting up a new website on Knol to publish research results about influenza. PLoS Currents: Influenza will be moderated by an expert group of researchers. With H1N1, it’s important to communicate preliminary results, and this new site provides a way to do that.

I wanted to talk about something else cool that I recently saw on Knol. One of Knol’s strengths is making it easier to add knowledge to the web. For example, the web has fewer documents written in languages such as Arabic. One Google Knol project resulted in a ton of informative pages being added to the web in Arabic. They made a video about it:

Getting more useful content onto the web is a good thing, so I’m glad that Knol can help with that.

25 Responses to New Knol developments (Leave a comment)

  1. It would hurt Google to favor its own creations. People use Google because it returns the most relevant results. Inserting bias would hurt relevancy and turn away visitors. Never even considered that big G would favor Knol, but glad to see it proven.

    Heck, Google doesn’t even come up #1 for “search engine” or “search”! You guys might want to work on your SEO there. 🙂

  2. I published two articles at knol and only 5 people/week read them. This is not very surprising, since almost none knol pages are included in the Google serps. The small number of readers is not very big traffic for my writings…

  3. “One of Knol’s strengths is making it easier to add knowledge to the web. For example, the web has fewer documents written in languages such as Arabic.”

    What about the Arabic Wikipedia? Doesn’t it make easier to add knowledge to the web in Arabic?

  4. Good to know it’s still being worked on. Not heard much about it for a while now. I might have to write some more articles.

  5. Speaking of boost, why is it that Wikipedia scores so well? Usually it’s ok, but sometimes there’ll be Wikipedia results that are barely even relevant… for a long time, their “Recruit training” article was high on page 1 for “air force boot camp” even though its air force section is only about 400 words.

  6. Speaking of rankings, what would cause a site to lose its PR and rankings, yet still be cached and indexed in G00gle? And I’ve also heard that G00gle can penalize sites for selling links. How could Google ever tell that a site is selling links? The only way I could see them having sufficient evidence is if they sent spies to try and buy links from sites..

  7. How about Google not lowering the bar for YouTube? After all, Google does have a Video search if one want videos.

  8. Since I am from Egypt
    the video is made by Egyptians, and I am so proud
    I personally got enveloped in knol, I wrote couple of articles and was amazed by number of Arabic articles theres
    It is due to the effort between Google and Alexandria university in Egypt

  9. I think Knols should actually do better in the SERPs. Hubpages and Squidoo pages always do well, but you I never see Knols in the search results.

  10. I really like Knol project and Knol banners

    I think Google have to promote more this project 😉

  11. IMO, Knol is all about quantity at the expense of quality. I.e you have to sort through a Tonne of Chaff to find any Wheat. So much false information on the WWW already, I really don’t see any need for more.

  12. Basically Google is downplaying all its own side projects on the SERPS (like Knol) so it’s funny when people complaing that a lot of “non search related” projects from “Big G” are failures…

  13. I totally missed this when it was released. Investigating it now.

  14. I personally haven’t heard of Knol before until now. I agree that it should be more promoted in the serps but Google shouldn’t give it a lot of preference. It should be ranked based on whether the page/site has the data that a person is looking for.. because if it doesnt show up much in the serps and knol actually contains info that a person needs then that person is not getting what they need.

    I admire the Arabic Google team in their efforts to improve and promote their own language on the internet as it is empowering them to speak up and write up articles that most Arabic students need.

  15. I am currently using Squidoo Pages which is really Working. Now I have started using Wetpaint Pages almost over a week and was waiting for the report on how its working.

    Likewise I would like to do experiment with Knol, as well…:)

  16. It’s rare that a spurious idea gets formally “completely debunked” – as I recall there are over 10% of Americans who doubt NASA had put men on the moon (and, I’m glad to note, there is a long knol debunking their doubts).

    Still, well done promoting the truth with the openness we expect from Google.

  17. Well, I have not seen any knoll page rank for any competitive keywords, so yhea I would pretty much say that it has been debunked.

  18. Nathan, I hear it’s over 20% and I bet a large percentage of those think UFO = Spaceship 🙂

  19. The reason there’s not much Arabic online is because any time someone from this part of the world states something that sounds like an original idea or opinion that goes against established authority, they get thrown in jail or beheaded.


  20. Knol is not managed well it don’t look like a Google Project its is not good and it doesn’t deserve PR 7 at all.

  21. I don’t know why Google fears some comments and what “others might think”, Knol has some truly great information from really knowledgeable people, i think Google is deliberately trying to not include knol in the search in fear of backlash.

    It does not make sense, do no evil, right, its really a pity that not many people know how truly great information is out there in knol.

  22. Nofollow is a recommendation, not a contract. I hope that search engines disregard nofollow whenever doing so would improve their search results.

    I doubt that Wikipedia would ever give a class of users the right to dofollow links. However, there is another possible approach. Every article is rated one of the following: Featured, A, Good, B, C, Start, Stub, Unrated. Articles of Good quality or better have been independently reviewed. Spam is unlikely to last more than a few minutes in such articles. If a search engine wanted to extract signal from Wikipedia links, they could disregard nofollow on the persistent links in quality articles.

  23. Even when google is not giving any preference to knols, knol platform is doing well compared to other article platforms where voluntary contributions from authors without any editing is hosted. Many people are trying to write negative things about knol with vested motives. As knol becomes successful some web sites and blogs may lose their business as a part of creative destruction and naturally such agents are trying their best to write negative views about knol. There are many students and others who are happy with the content available on knol and there are many authors who are registering on knol everyday. In many subjects, the content hosted on knol is more relevant from the subject point of view compared to Wikipedia. Anyway, there cannot be only one online source for knowledge. There are competing view points in every subject and there are competing authors in the way they present the knowledge and google knol has a purpose to support both these categories of authors and provide information to the society.

  24. I have watch the video about Arabic ,i’m from an arabic contry and i think yes knol may be a good way to give us more and rich arabic content in the web because arabaic is a nice and rich language.i have test knol it give a new concept for wikipedia.

  25. If I see your answer from an other angle that I have a country domain ( but I want this site for Australia viewers only. Is it possible?

    what would be the best way in both cases (yes or no)