> Knowl. At least the spelling would be close to correct.
That would be NOWL.
Just pronouce it slowly, loudly and distinctly.
Google uses short words (mail, maps, news, mail) wherever possible (take notice: NOT email, but mail); consequently they'd rather use nowl instead of knowl. IANAG, and neither are you, so this discussion is academic in every respect.
I wonder why they didn't name this subdomain "pics" - that's the word for photographs and sundry imagery on the intertubes.
Anyway, using subdomains under their company name is both simple and clever. It lets them overcome every case of tricky domain squatting. Even better when they own "google" under all TLDs (which they now do).
A fine-grained tuning of Opera renders all websites ad-free. This is spam-free to those who are alergic to ads. Do not use Opera? Get an html-caching proxy, other browser + some extension(s), or a decent hosts file for your system, or, or, or. There are dozens of technical means to kill all that distracts you from reading.
I do find Knol pretty interesting, especially if it is used like a library full of books, short stories and analytical literature. This is no Wikipedia; make no assumptions about it. Instead of elaborate search for an item of information I'd rather focus on a topic, and dive in.
Thumbs up to Google.