Google agrees to pay for Wikipedia content

Published June 23, 2022
— Reuters/File
— Reuters/File

SAN FRANCISCO: Google has agreed to pay Wiki­pedia for content displayed by its search engine, mirroring deals the US tech giant has struck with news outlets in Europe.

The Wikimedia Foun­dation, the charity that oversees the online encyclopedia, said Google was the first paying customer for its commercial venture Wikimedia Enterprise, which it laun­ched last year.

The Internet Archive, a non-profit that runs a site called the Wayback Machine that saves snapshots of websites and is used to fix Wiki­pedia links, will be offered the commercial services for free. “We’re thrilled to be working with them both as our longtime partners,” said Wikimedia’s Lane Becker in a statement on Tuesday.

Wikipedia, one of the world’s most visited websites, is free to use, updated by volunteers and relies on donations to keep afloat.

The new commercial arm will not change that arrangement for indi­vidual users, the foundation said.

Google uses material from the site for its “knowledge panel” — a sidebar that acco­mpanies the main search results. The source of the infor­mation is not always shown, a practice that had spar­ked complaints from Wikimedia. Google has previously given money to Wikipedia through donations and grants.

“We have long supported the Wikimedia Foundation in pursuit of our shared goals of expanding knowledge and information access for people everywhere,” said Google’s Tim Palmer. The foundation’s statement did not rev­eal the value of the Google contract.

French regulators and Google on Tuesday ended a years-long dispute by agreeing a framework for the US firm to pay news outlets for content.

Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2022

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