Google becomes a customer of Wikipedia

(San Francisco) The Wikimedia Foundation, the organization that hosts the online collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia, has announced that Google and digital library Internet Archive are the first customers of a new service for professionals.

Posted at 6:45am
Updated at 9:03 am

Launched in October 2021, Wikimedia Enterprise offers companies and organizations that use and distribute content from the Wikimedia Foundation on a large scale, such as Wikipedia, Wikitionary or Wikibooks, fast and sophisticated access to their database.

This service does not extend to the general public, for which access to the encyclopedia and the other Wikimedia Foundation projects remains open and free.

“Wikimedia Enterprise was designed to meet a variety of content reuse and traceability needs, and our first two customers are good examples of this,” Lane Becker, chief revenue officer at the Wikimedia Foundation, said in a statement Tuesday.

“Google and the Internet Archive use Wikimedia content in very different ways, whether to support part of the display results or to get citations on Wikipedia,” added Becker.

Thanks to its Knowledge Graph tool, launched in 2012, Google provides its users with important information about their search queries, which appear directly in the search engine, so that the Internet user does not necessarily have to navigate to another website.

The information often comes from Wikipedia, but its provenance is not always mentioned, which has drawn Google criticism from the Wikimedia Foundation and other stakeholders.

Until the partnership with Wikipedia’s host was announced, Google mainly contributed to the financing of the encyclopedia in the form of donations.

For Pierre-Yves Baudouin, board member of Wikimedia France, Google’s goal is “to keep the financial flows going” because the company realized that it was “more logical and economical” to entrust Wikimedia with the updates and improvements of the Wikipedia API .

The amount of the contract between Google and the Wikimedia Foundation was not disclosed.

For its part, Internet Archive, which has the status of a non-profit association, benefits from free access to its services.

The American internet giant’s agreement with Wikimedia reflects the partnerships it has formed with several media outlets on copyright related rights.

Google has agreed to pay newspapers and press organizations, including AFP, to use their content.

On Tuesday, the competition authority in France ended the legal dispute between the French media and the Californian group in this case by accepting Google’s commitments.

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