Knol is a project to compile an index of learned articles on a variety of topics, which is both searchable and available to surfers for free.
Google first announced the project in December 2007, as it attempted to win back the search traffic it was losing by surfers going direct to Wikipedia.
"The internet is huge, but still a lot of expert knowledge remains untapped," said Juergen Galler, director of Product Management for Google.
However, articles in Knol are bylined rather than anonymous, which Google said is better than Wikipedia's anonymous model.
"Knol provides a way for people to share their expertise with others - and get credit for their contribution. In the same way that books have authors' names right on the cover, knols have authors' names--and links to their other articles - right there on the page," said Galler.