Wikimedia plans to launch paid service for big tech firms

By IANS Time of article published Mar 17, 2021

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San Francisco - The Wikimedia Foundation is planning to launch a new paid service for technology giants that draw on Wikipedia data.

The foundation is planning to launch the service called Wikimedia Enterprise later this year, the Wired reported on Tuesday.

The move is likely to affect companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple as their platforms and virtual assistants rely on knowledge provided by Wikipedia.

For example, Google's "knowledge boxes", the quick blurbs of information that the company offers in response to search queries, use Wikipedia, and so do voice assistants like Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri.

"This is the first time the foundation has recognized that commercial users are users of our service," Lane Becker, a senior director at the foundation, who has been ramping up the Enterprise project with a small team, was quoted as saying.

"We've known they are there, but we never really treated them as a user base."

While the details of how Wikimedia Enterprise will operate are still being worked out, broadly, it will be like a premium version of Wikipedia's API, the tool that allows anybody to scrape and re-host Wikipedia articles, according to a report in The Verge.

The Wikimedia Enterprise team in an essay said that it is balancing commercial realities with a mission to provide free access to knowledge.

"This is about setting up the movement to thrive for decades to come, to weather any storm, and to genuinely stand a chance at achieving the mission first conceived 20 years ago," the essay says.

"We're going to need more resources, more partners, and more allies if we are going to achieve the goals implicit in our vision statement."

--IANS

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