Now that you know the major differences between Knol and Wikipedia, here’s a quick guide to help you explore the main features of Knol and also ponder issues related to AdSense and URL structures in Knol.
Get Started with Knol - The First Step
When you login into Knol using your Gmail or Google Account, the first thing you must do is edit your blank “bio” - write something about yourself, upload a pictures, include links to your blog, etc.
You may also invite friends and other people who know you to edit your profile page on Knol. Don’t forget to “Publish the Knol page” else it won’t be visible to the outside world. (Knol for Reputation Management ?)
Verify Your Google Knol Name over Phone or via Credit Card
Google Knol will assign you a name that you specified at the time of creating a Google Account.
You also need to verify this name - it’s optional but you must do it since this will add a “verified” label next to your articles and therefore lend more credibility.
While you can verify your Google Name using a Credit Card or let Google call your phone, the only issue is that is available to US residents or people who own a credit card with a billing address in America.
Import Your Blog Articles, Wikipedia Pages or even Word Docs into Knol
Knol offers a pretty decent import feature through which you can bring your existing articles into Knol.
You can import HTML, PDF, DOC, XLS and other popular file formats into Knol - the extracted text opens up in WYSIWYG editor where you can edit the formatting issues and publish.
To import articles into Know, create a Knol and use the “Import Tool” in the right toolbox. Sorry but bulk uploads aren’t allowed yet.
Alternative Titles - Perfect for Catching Misspelled Queries
When you write a new article (also known as “creating a knol”) - there’s a very useful option where you can suggest alternative titles for the document.
This is very useful if people use different words to describe a same topic. For instance, if I am writing something about “screencasting”, the article may also interesting people who are looking for information on screencasts, screen recorders, desktop movies, etc.
I may mentions these words or phrases as “alternative titles” in Knol so that people don’t have trouble finding the topic that they are interested in but don’t know the exact word for that. Of course there’s potential for abuse but that’s a discussion for another day.
Should You Create Knols with your existing Google Account ?
When you create pages on Knol, the URL structure is something like this - /author/topic-name/a-cryptic-sting - see some sample URLs for articles created by one author:
knol.google.com/k/author-name/topic-one/abcde knol.google.com/k/author-name/topic-two/fghij knol.google.com/k/author-name/topic-three/xyzabc
While this make it easy to distinguish pages on Knol by author, that may not hold good for long because if another author joins Knol with the same name as you, his articles / contribution will have the same URL structure as you because of similar “real names.’
Secondly, if you working on some article in a group, you may not want to have an article that has only your name in the URL? An alternative is to create a new Google Account and give it a name that identifies with your group (say MIT-students) or with the theme of your article (say computer-science).
Should You Link Knol with Google AdSense ?
Google allows you to monetize your Knol pages with Google AdSense. But before you associate your AdSense Publisher ID with your Knol account, keep ”smart pricing” in mind - “an under performing website associated with your AdSense account can result in lower ad rates across all websites sites associated with your Google account.
What’s missing ? Currently there’s no way to track your favorite topics in Knol as it doesn’t support RSS feeds but that would change for sure.