Flaxen-locked funtrepreneur Jason Calacanis says Google has been a content company for a while now. With Knol, the Googlers plan to become the Internet's reference library rather than just its card catalog. I used the editorial equivalent of gzip to compress Calacanis's arguments down to 1/10 size.
It seems Google is not satisfied with owning over 70% of search—now they want to own the first couple of pages in their search results. So, if you're digg.com, About.com, NYTimes.com, and Wikipedia you're faced with not only being traffic-dependant on Google, you're now competing with them for the traffic within their search result.
This feels exactly like what Microsoft did to its application vendors. Microsoft convinced folks to build WordStar, WordPerfect, Lotus 1-2-3, and Quattro Pro for their operating system. They grew that business together until the point that Microsoft had massive market-share in operating systems.
Then Microsoft pulled the rug out from under the 3rd party application vendors. The streets were littered with dead software companies, Microsoft faced massive lawsuits, and the industry became stagnant until the Internet shook things up again two decades later.
Frankly, it's insulting to say you're not in the content business and then launch Knol and compete with content companies for their authors, users, and placement in the rankings that you control.
For Google's own good they should not try to take over their own search results. If Google results start showing 20-30% Knol pages and YouTube videos then that is going to drive users away from Google in search of more diversity.
As a hedge we're partnering with Google. We've put 30 of our How To articles into Knol, and we're very big partners with YouTube on our Mahalo Daily show. If you can't beat them join them. If Google is destined to be the new Microsoft then it's best to get into the tent early.