Late last week Google announced Google Knol – a shot across the bow for every single publisher out there. For years Google has been claiming that they are in the game only to “organize the world’s information”, yet Knol is a play to actually create Google’s own authoritative content. This sounds a lot like Google is throwing Wikipedia, Mahalo, and its own index into one giant pot (and labeling it with an assenine moniker).
It’s kind of interesting that Knol is supposed to stand for “unit of knowledge”. It doesn’t get any more clear that Google is trying to make everything under the sun into a commodity – all to be exploited via contextual (and soon behaviorally-targeted) ads.
As Aaron points out, Google will probably start ranking Knol in the SERPS. With this move, they’ve just overstepped an important boundary. As an independent web publisher, I can say that this move gives me all the more reason to distrust the Google borg. Google has been gobbling up all the players as it moves along the value chain, and here they’ve just overstepped a very significant boundary.