I pinged Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, about Google’s competitive move this past week. I asked him his initial thoughts:
Sounds more like Yahoo Answers than Wikipedia to me. It is not a collaborative tool, it is a competitive tool.
“We hope that knols will include the opinions and points of view of the authors who will put their reputation on the line. Anyone will be free to write. For many topics, there will likely be competing knols on the same subject. Competition of ideas is a good thing.”
Very different from a wiki, and not likely to generate much of quality.
Then I asked if he was surprised that Google did it. “I am surprised it took them so long. :)” was his response.