I wonder how the branding team at Google sorted through the challenges of this name choice? I guess they figure a little Google-power carries all ships - and they aren’t wrong. However, here are the challenges I see just in a quick glance:
1. They don’t own the domain knol.com. Knol is a steamcleaning equipment dealer in Europe. Is this to be another uTube.com incident? Those poor chaps were nearly sunk in bandwidth charges when YouTube.com gained its popularity and now they’ve just turned their site into an ad revenue generator. I’m sure the guys at Knol.com are tired of people calling to buy their domain and tying up their bandwidth to boot. They even posted in English “We sell steamcleaning equipment and don’t sell our domain !!”
2. What’s Knology got to say about this? The 4-character stock symbol for their firm is KNOL. Knology is in the Internet business… But alas, they didn’t file for trademark protection before Google did in December of 2007.
3. If its about knowledge, why didn’t they include the “know” in it? I am assuming two possible pronunciations: GNOLL or NAAL. Jimmy Wales is pronouncing it “GNOLL” on a recent Q&A.
All of this said, my inspiration for this post is that I own the domain knowli.com” (pronounced NO-LEE) and its arguably a better choice. I think there were probably many better choices. At the end of the day, however, they are Google and can do what they want. Their brand will carry them.