So Google has officially opened up Knol to the public. FYI, Knol is G’s next attempt to take over the world (or at least its information) by building a community-driven, open-source encyclopedia similar to Wikipedia.
Google gives us all the goods on its Googleblog, so I’ll let you do the reading yourself. Do note, though, that they are encouraging people to use their real names on this. Google argues that the authority we find in Knol will be vested in the authors and the author communities. Whereas Bearcat258, Hellfire23f, or some other alias was once our authority for everything we needed to know from Wikipedia’s entry on X, the end-user will now hopefully be able to cross-reference the names of Knol’s authors against other pieces of information (ostenbsibly on Knol profile pages or by way of a google-search) to determine the article’s own veracity and quality.
Fair enough. Google is correct in this regard. Information and authority is all relative anyway. Both are fairly dependent on identity. We generally differentiate between truth and rumour when we can (1) verify the content of the statement, and (2) find the source of the knowledge. I still find Google and Knol’s demands for open identity troubling, though. I think the likes of Facebook and Google has destroyed anonymity on the internet, and I’m not always certain if that’s a good thing. Google really does have the goods on us, and I wonder if I want this mega-corp being able to draw a character sketch of my person. I’m still unsure what the implications would be if I were to merge my internet and IRL personas into one name/user.
Knol will be a success, truly, but I wonder what the wider implications of such ‘non-anonymous’ projects are..
Just Enjoy Googles next inovation