Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wikipedia wins the Google lottery - But Why?

Guardian Technology Blog

The Wikimedia Foundation - the organisation that runs Wikipedia- scored its own unexpected windfall yesterday, when it officially announced that Google was giving it a $2m grant.
For the website, the donation comes as the icing on the cake. Over the last few months, Wikipedia's been on a rather relentless fundraising drive that ended up bringing in $8m of cash to keep it going.

And it shouldn't be a complete surprise that Google is dipping into its pocket - after all, the internet goliath is not above supporting projects that help its users in some way. In the past it has pumped money into projects like Mozilla's Firefox and various university research projects.

But why Wikipedia?

Well, in general Google focuses on giving money to causes that will help make life better or easier for its users. That might be opening up a database that improves search results, offering a browser that is faster or more flexible than others, or finding new ways to collect and disseminate information.

Seen in that light, the Wikipedia grant is simple: the site's vast database of articles and search-engine friendly approach means it gets featured heavily in Google's results pages.

What is good for Wikipedia - making the site faster, more reliable and more accessible - helps Google's users get what they want, and is therefore good for the company itself. It's not a grant, it's an investment in making sure it can keep dominating search.

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