One of the most significant developments that has happened in a long time occurred last week when I was off riding my bike: Knol is open to everyone:
The key principle behind Knol is authorship. Every knol will have an author (or group of authors) who put their name behind their content. It's their knol, their voice, their opinion. We expect that there will be multiple knols on the same subject, and we think that is good.
What this does is disintermediate those who are in the publishing and aggregation business. Authors now have the power to self-publish in a location where if their content is good it WILL BE FOUND. I'm going to make the assumption that most authors write because they want to be read. Being read today means that you have to be found by search. This is what I had to say about Knol when it was first announced: Google Knol is not about sole authorship:
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.
I'll stand by that statement. If you are an aggregator and your site authority is such that it can't do better than something published on Google Knol then your reason for existence pretty much just evaporated. The value you add disappeared. Authors don't need what you're peddling anymore.
If you are a content-centric Web site, meaning everyone that is not a social media or e-commerce site, you should be asking yourself one question today, What is our purpose? This will be an extremely difficult question for many to answer in a post Knol world.