Access to Wikipedia will become chargeable… especially for Google. The search giant and the online encyclopedia have struck a deal to power search results more fairly.
The Wikimedia Foundation, which publishes the Wikipedia encyclopedia, is opening a new chapter in its history. In a press release published on June 21, 2022, the charity explains that it has signed contracts with Google and the Internet Archive (which offers the valuable Wayback Machine) to improve access to Wikipedia data.
Google takes care of its image
Via Wikimedia Enterprise, the commercial arm of Wikimedia, the foundation will offer its first two customers more comprehensive and targeted access to the information hosted on the online encyclopedia. Thanks to this new contract, the two companies will be able to see in real time the changes canceled on certain pages and will benefit from guaranteed availability of content, without speed limitation. “As Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects grow, knowledge from Wikimedia sites is increasingly used to power other websites and products.“, notes the company, which seeks, through these agreements, to “meet a variety of content reuse and sourcing needs“.
Until then, Google, the Internet Archive, and other companies accessed Wikipedia through its free, public application programming interface (API) and used it to enrich their ecosystems. Google, for example, uses data from Wikipedia to offer answers to certain questions directly in the search results page. It’s this same API that allows Google’s connected speakers to tell you at a glance how old the Queen of England is. The Internet Archive will draw on Wikipedia to save different versions of the same page.
To improve these tools, Wikimedia Enterprise has therefore negotiated contracts that could allow these structures to go further than what the free API offers. For Google, it’s a way to fund the online encyclopedia without being taxed into savagely sucking up all the content from the web for its own benefit. “We look forward to deepening our partnership with Wikimedia Enterprise, further investing in the long-term sustainability of the foundation and the knowledge ecosystem it continues to build.“said a Google executive.
More reliable and richer archives
The situation is a little different for the Internet Archive: the service will be offered free of charge on the site, which already makes it possible to repair broken links on Wikipedia. “By tapping into a real-time feed of newly added links and references from Wikipedia sites, we can now archive more of the web faster and more reliably.“, welcomes the director of the company.
If by chance you feel like digging into this API, Wikimedia Enterprise offers several price brackets, ranging from 0.01 cents per request to $100,000 per year.