Wikipedia, the open-source amassment of knowledge and saviour of the last minute assignment, has long been free for everyone, but that won’t be entirely true for much longer as The Wikimedia Foundation, responsible for The Free Encyclopedia and other projects, has announced that it is launching a paid service. But fret not, day to day users, your wallets will remain unaffected. This commercial product is for Big Tech folks like Facebook.
Wikipedia’s still free, guys
But there will be an optional paid offering aimed at organisations. This new service, called Wikimedia Enterprise, is Wikipedia’s standard API (software that works as a middle-man to let two separate platforms work in tandem), which lets sites and individual users host Wikipedia content on their platforms, but better.
For example, users shilling out for the premium service will get data and information quicker in the format they need, and will also have more ways to display it.
Again, this is optional. Facebook, Google and the like are free to continue using Wikipedia’s gratis offering, but coughing up for the premium version has perks. It’s likely to be attractive for these organizations too, considering how many of them require the free API for certain platforms already, like Siri, Alexa, Google Home, and so on. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter often use Wikipedia for fact-checking, a necessity when it comes to putting information online these days.
The Verge reports that, in an official essay found on the Wikimedia meta-wiki, the Enterprise team explains that this offering is all about maintaining Wikipedia’s long-standing mission to provide free information, whilst addressing the need for resources that entails. One of those resources, funding, has historically been taken care of mainly through donations. This seems like it could be a good way to bolster that.