google not ‘yet’ cheating

July 25, 2008

via Silicon Alley Insider by Dan Frommer on 7/25/08


One advantage Wikipedia has over Google’s Wikipedia-inspired Knol: Its entries still show up much higher in Google’s (GOOG) own search results.

This makes sense, of course — the longer-standing Wikipedia entries should have more inbound links, and ultimately a better Google rank. And Google has no incentive to juice the results to give its own product a boost — if it ever got caught, it would cause its brand irreparable harm.

How do some new knols compare to their Wikipedia counterparts? Wikipedia (SAI 25 #2) did particularly well for nouns like "lung cancer" and "sunscreen," while Knol’s how-to articles like the much-ballyhooed "toilet clogs" and "how to backpack" don’t really have Wikipedia counterparts. Search ranking as of Thursday evening:

Search Query Wikipedia Knol
type 1 diabetes 2 30
lung cancer 2 60
toilet clogs 3
tooth pain 14
how to backpack 3
osteoporosis 3 383
sunscreen 1 500
coleslaw 2 46
floating floors 6 500
gl gg 1 21
barbecue 1 37
knol 2 3
eclipse 5 500

Amusingly, if you search for "knol," Wikipedia’s entry still comes up higher in Google’s search results than the Knol project homepage.