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Wikipedia is set to start charging big businesses for its encyclopedia data

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(Image credit: Pixabay)

Wikipedia's parent company has revealed it is set to launch a new paid-for service for companies that take information from the online encyclopedia.

The new Wikimedia Enterprise platform will only apply to companies that use content from Wikipedia, with the likes of Google, Amazon and Facebook set to be affected.

However normal everyday users of Wikipedia will still be able to access the service for free.

Wikimedia Enterprise

Wikimedia Enterprise will look to provide "paid developer tools that make it easier for companies and organizations to consume and re-use Wikimedia data," the company noted.

The new endeavour is thought to be set to launch later in 2021, with the Wikimedia Foundation already revealing some parts of the modalities of the new programme.

While the regular Wikipedia offering will be free, the new option is an experiment toward sustainability and maintaining independence for the platform.

Top tech companies use Wikipedia in myriad ways, such as Google’s “knowledge boxes”, as well as voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri using data from the same platform.

Some fund Wikipedia through donations, but many others that use Wikipedia resources in a major way, get away without even so much as a thank you note.

"This is the first time the foundation has recognised that commercial users are users of our service. We've known they are there, but never really treated them as a user base," Lane Becker, a senior director at the Wikimedia Foundation, told Wired.

Premium customers could see themselves getting access to Wikipedia data delivered quicker, or formatted in a way that suits them best - ultimately solving some of the most in-depth issues for these tech giants.

“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 Wikimedia Foundation wrote in an online essay.

“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.” 

Via Wired