Back in December 2007, I made a bet against Google Knol, the search giant’s answer to Wikipedia. In a fairly involved piece, I listed three reasons why Knol wouldn’t upend Wikipedia. Now fast forward 18+ months: Tech Crunch has reported that Knol’s traffic is trending down. It peaked in February at around 320,000 visitors per month, according to Quantcast estimates. Now it’s at around 174,000. (See the graph here.) The bottom line? You can’t win at everything. But fortunately there’s some good new things coming out of Google, and we’ll be mentioning them in the coming days.
PS In case you didn’t hear, Wikipedia is starting to put editorial restrictions on certain entries. The laissez-faire days are coming to an end.
The Knol might not be dead yet. PLoS has recently begun collaborating with Knol: http://knol.google.com/k/plos/plos-currents-influenza/28qm4w0q65e4w/1%23#. I can see a time in the near future where people who publish in PLoS will be encouraged, if not required, to submit a Knol to Google as well. Will other scientific journals follow suit?
According to my estimate weekly page views of knol are now 1.5 million per week. By August 2010, they will reach one million per day and knol will reach a breakeven page view level. More and more authors are registering on knol. More authors are committing themselves actively to knol.