I've been reading almost everything I can get my hands on about Google Knol. The arguments invariably turn to the question, "Is Knol a Wikipedia killer". The conversation goes something like this: Google’s philosophy: Knol thyself
Google’s plan is based on a model that highlights individual expertise rather than collective knowledge. Unlike Wikipedia, where the contributors and editors remain in the background, each knol represents the view of a single author, who is featured prominently on the page.
Sounds more like Yahoo Answers than Wikipedia to me. It is not a collaborative tool, it is a competitive tool.
Where are people getting this? Sure the example Google shows has a single author, but there is nothing in the Google press release to indicate anything about "Google's model" and sole authorship. The press release does a pretty nice job of talking about authors, plural, and says little about how knols are created.
If you want a taste for how authorship might work in Knol you only have to look as far as Google Docs. It's very easy to assemble a group to collaborate on an article, and publish to the Web today. Google Docs' strength is its collaborative nature. Additionally, let's not forget that Google has one of the hottest wiki technologies to be found, Jotspot. I think it is safe to assume that when Google finally releases Jotspot that it will be tightly integrated with Knol. When that happens, you effectively have a writing and publishing tool that allows authors to choose how they prefer to work. People will bring their own social networks.
Basically, Knol is a content management system for the masses, with the added advantage of having the SEO baked-in. Google is effectively lowering the barriers to access in a significant way. The question those of you who are in the aggregation or publishing business need to be asking: Why would authors choose to publish through you as opposed to just doing it themselves with Knol? If you can't answer this question you are in deep trouble.