At a time when industry experts believe that the encyclopedia services market may create a new growth narrative in the coming years. As part of a growing trend by the American IT company to strike commercial deals with other web organizations, internet advertising giant Google has created a surprising move to pay for Wikipedia’s enhanced services.

Through open cooperation and a wiki-based editing system, a community of volunteers creates and maintains Wikipedia, a free multilingual online encyclopedia. Wikipedians are the collective term for individual contributors, often referred to as editors. The largest and most popular reference source in history is Wikipedia.

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In 2022, Wikipedia was ranked the 7th most popular website; it is consistently in the top 10 websites according to Similarweb and former Alexa. It is hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization in the United States funded primarily by donations.

The nonprofit organization that runs Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation, has announced that its for-profit arm, Wikimedia Enterprise, has its first paying customer: Google. Commercial services will be provided free of charge to The Internet Archive, a non-profit organization that operates the Wayback Machine, a website that archives screenshots of web pages and is used to correct Wikipedia links.

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“We are delighted to work with them as long-time partners,” Wikimedia’s Lane Becker said in a statement on Tuesday.

According to the foundation, the new commercial branch will not change this arrangement for certain consumers. The “knowledge panel”, a sidebar that appears next to the main search results, uses content from the website. The fact that the source of the information is not always displayed has led to objections from Wikimedia. Google has given grants and donations to Wikipedia in the past.

“We have a long history of supporting the Wikimedia Foundation in pursuing our common goals of expanding access to knowledge and information for people around the world,” said Tim Palmer of Google.

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The value of the deal with Google was not disclosed in the foundation’s announcement.

On Tuesday, Google and French regulators reached agreement on a framework for the US company to pay news outlets for content on Tuesday, ending a long-running disagreement. Google claimed to have agreements with hundreds of news organizations around the world.


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