The reductionist knol

July 23, 2008

It is interesting to see pattern entrainment in action. Google is so caught up in the patterns of its prior success that it may not see the potential of its future failure, a place that IBM, Microsoft and others have gone (or are going) before. The advertising model of gain that has been at the heart of Google’s success is at the base of their attempt to compete with the Wikipedia. OK I know the idea of a knol is to provide an “an authoritative article about a specific topic” something that is perceived as a weakness in Wikipedia where anyone can edit from the spotty 14 year old to the learned Professor. But its not all about authority, its also the other “A” word of advertising. The authors of an article take a revenue share of the advertising and you can see where the motivation is going to come from there. The other big issue is the reduction of knowledge to “units” to use Google’s own words. Knowledge is a complex phenomena and the creative messy flow of Wikipedia’s volunteers is closer to that reality than a mediated and commercial approach to widgets.

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