Google’s Knol

In July 2008 Google released a new service called Knol. You’re probably wondering what sort of funny name that is, and after I’ve told you what Knol does, you’ll still think that, but at least the name will make sense.

So what is a knol? Google describes it like this:

Knols are authoritative articles about specific topics, written by people who know about those subjects. Today, we’re making Knol available to everyone.

Knol has been described by others as a Wikipedia of sorts, but that’s not quite right. While Wikipedia is structured like a classical encyclopedia, with editors guarding like watchdogs what is added or edited, Knol lets many people write many different articles on the same topic. Readers can then rate, review and sometimes even edit other authors articles (via something called moderated editing, meaning edits by others must be approved by the author of the knol). Compared to Wikipedia, that’s about as laissez fair as it can get.

So, how has Google Knol been doing since the start? As the official Google blog announced last month, the 100,000 knols barrier was broken sometime at the end of 2008. That’s not too bad for a service that’s only been around for a mere six months. I guess the fact that Google lets you display ads on your knol’s page didn’t hurt either.

Which is where it becomes tricky. Right now one of the featured knols is an article that deals with plagiarism on Google Knol. According to the article, especially Wikipedia articles get copied massively without attribution, which is simply against the Wikipedia license. And if those people who’ve copied Wikipedia articles also earn money by having ads displayed on their stolen content, it gets a bit nasty.

The measures you can take if you feel content has been plagiarized are absurdly complicated. The owner of the copyrighted material has to contact Google in writing. That’s right, a letter on actual paper. Why on earth they wouldn’t simply let them contact them via e-mail or a form or whatever else people have been using on the Interwebs for the last 15 years is beyond me.

Anyway, I accidentally stumbled over a how-to contest Google Knol is holding in cooperation with Dummies.com, so I decided to add another knol to those 100,000. Since there’s at least a thousands things I could write the most splendid how-tos on, it was tough for me to decide, but I chose something that most people would be able to connect with. That’s right, I wrote a how-to on the perfect Martini. Check it out! And don’t copy it without attribution!

The Martini Chronicles Pt.14

And here it is, the 14th instalment of your most favourite series. Let’s get down to business:

The Martini Chronicles Pt.14

This, Ladies and Gentleman, is the perfect Martini. At least when it comes to being true to what creating a Martini is all about. Which would be to create the perfect Martini, of course.

As you can see, the garnish is a lemon twist, which according to this book my girlfriend gave me for my birthday, was the original garnish (and not the olive, which was introduced a while later and led to a lot of scoffing by Martini-purists).

I also used Dutch gin this time, which is said to have a fuller flavour than London gin. I must say, I think it was one of the best Martinis I’ve had to date.

The Martini Chronicles P.13

It’s been awfully quiet round here lately, which fortunately is not due to me losing my limbs in a horrible freak-accident, but mainly due to my preoccupation with things not more important, but certainly more pressing.

Nevertheless, here’s another installment of my ‘tini Chronicles (‘tini, as compared to Martini, is the way actual cocktail-insiders talk. Or it’s the way idiots talk, I haven’t quite figured that out yet).

The Martini Chronicles Pt.13

I saw the above mixer-set advertised in the Sunday papers. It was really cheap, and since I don’t adhere to the saying that those who buy cheap, buy twice, I went and bought the set. I’m now in the fortunate position to be able to stir my Martini with a professional stirring spoon, which you may think is not much different from any other long-stemmed spoon, but you’re wrong. It’s actually got the pictogram of a Martini-glass stenciled right into it. What better way to stir your Martini than with a spoon that’s totally in the spirit of the whole venture?

And, if you compare images of earlier Chronicles, you’ll notice that the new shaker is of elegantly crafted metal, which lies in stark contrast to my first shaker, a stylish but yuppie-ish white plastic thing. Not that I didn’t like it! I’ll hold it dearly in my heart for the rest of my life for being the tool that helped me lose my cocktail-virginity, and maybe, in the years to come, I will dig it out again and use it just for old times’ sake.

In the end, what I prepared was a strict 2:1, dry Vermouth, three Olive-Martini. I think I noticed a slight metallic taste during the first sip, but that could have been mere imagination.

The Martini Chronicles Pt.12 – Dusty

Equipped with Bombay Gin, Noillit Noilly Prat (edit: did I actually misspell that? I’m such a chump!) did I and a solid Single Malt, I yesterday added another chapter to my glorious Martini Chronicles. Have a look:

The Martini Chronicles Pt.12

What you see is a variant of the Dusty Martini. While the original Dusty substitutes Vermouth with Scotch, I added the Scotch after mixing a 2:1 Dry Martini. The effect was a Martini that had lost most of its bitter edge and instead had most of the sweet Scotch flavour.

It’s definitely a good Martini variant, even though it doesn’t resemble the original Martini Dry a whole lot. Which, in the end, is not really a problem, because all I and probably everyone else wants, is a damn good drink.