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More things that piss me off about Google Knol

August 1, 2008 Leave a comment

Okay, I’m pissed because I care. Or something like that.

You see, as a purveyor of fine health information, it is my job, nay, my calling, to wade through the trenches of health websites. There’s good ones (WebMD, Mayo, NIH sites, etc.) and then there’s the really bad content (don’t even get me started).

That’s why I was giddy like a 13 year old going to see Hannah Montana when I first previewed Google Knol. Seeded with a few hundred health topics written by physicians, the content quality and depth is unbelievable. It puts Wikipedia to shame. It puts everything else out there to shame.

Only problem? Doctors write when actively courted by Google (who doesn’t love a little love from our overlords?); they probably stop writing when they find that the AdSense ads surrounding their content monetize at 10 dollars a year.

Yeah. Doctors are people too, and sometimes wretchedly money-grubbing people. Fair enough.

So to really measure Google Knol’s quality since takeoff last week, we need a better way to navigate and access the site.

  • What were the last five (or five hundred) Knols created? If they were about how to sell snake oil as opposed to medical topics, uh, I’d kinda like to know so I don’t syndicate that.
  • How many Knols exist overall? Note that Wikipedia provides a pretty easy way to get to that number. Its called a full database dump and my company Kosmix uses it. Knol? Umm no. Evil much??
  • Nav for the site is pretty retarded. I mean, look at this: http://knol.google.com/k/knol/directory-000#. Where is the categorization?
  • Good Lord, there isn’t even a way to SORT the goddamn link above!!!
  • Final offense: the title says “Collection of Featured Knols”. That means that the tip of the iceberg could be shiny and pretty while the rest of the iceberg is trying to sell me Viagra on the cheap. Come on, Knol, stand behind your product!
Categories: silicon valley, snarky, tech Tags: , ,

Things that tick me off: Google KNOL doesn’t syndicate

Google Knol made a ridiculously loud fat-man-diving-into-kiddie-pool splash last week. Why? Three reasons:

a) Google is involved, and anything with our Interwebs overlords in charge should be greeted with deference.

b) Wikipedia might get crushed in the process. Nerdy Wikipedia editors are just so annoying, after all.

c) The content, at least for the seed list of topics, is FANTASTIC.

Most of the articles have been licensed under Creative Commons. So why the hell is it so hard to get to the content via XML? Let’s say I want to syndicate Knol Content on my site? Why can’t I do that? There isn’t even an RSS feed that will let me get to the first 1000 characters of the Knol.

That blows. And Google should really fix it.

Categories: reviews, snarky, tech Tags: , ,