Do you Knol the ledge?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 10:31 AM

A few months ago we announced on the Official Google Blog that we were testing a new product called Knol. Today, we're making it available to everyone. In addition to our official announcement, we wanted to tell you about it here because we think that Knol could be a powerful tool for publishers and authors. Knols are articles about specific topics written by authoritative sources, so if you're an author, writing a knol is a great way to raise the profile of a topic you care about.

Millions of people turn to the Internet for research every day. Many of these readers might not think they need to look at an entire book on a subject - but as we've seen, a book can provide a great experience with the proper introduction. Knols allow you to make this kind of introduction.

Let's say you're an author who's a gardening expert. You could write a knol on how to tend roses, which could introduce a few general principles of gardening and then explain how to care for a rose bush. This topic is probably too short for an entire book, but your knol would give your reader an introduction to the subject, and you could let interested readers find out more by linking to your book, in Book Search or elsewhere, from the knol. Teasers and sales pitches may work on the back of a book where readers can preview the content, but a knol without real information will only frustrate readers.

That's just one example, of course. We've been working with a number of publishers as part of the private beta test, and there's been a lot of excitement about the possibilities. Eric Smith of The Family Handyman Magazine put it this way:

The Family Handyman Magazine web site has over a thousand expert-reviewed, professionally photographed articles on all aspects of home improvement, with more being added every day - a rich source of raw knowledge. Google's Knol site, which presents authoritative information written by recognized experts, gives us an opportunity to distill that knowledge into core articles on how-to topics - and also to link back to dozens of more focused articles at our website. Using Google's simple Knol template, we're able to present highly detailed, definitive how-to articles on a wide range of subjects - which will raise awareness of our magazine and provide another pathway to our web site for anyone who needs to know the right way to repair, maintain or improve their home.

As always, a picture is worth a thousand words, so to learn more check out a knol written during our beta test. Ready to get started? Head on over to the website.


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