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17 February 2010, 11:30

Google donates two million dollars to Wikimedia

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WikiMedia Logo The Wikimedia Foundation has received another major donation. Today Google announced that it is donating two million dollars to the non-profit organisation behind Wikipedia.

"Wikipedia is one of the greatest triumphs of the internet," explained Google co-founder Sergey Brin, "This vast repository of community-generated content is an invaluable resource to anyone who is online." Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales emphasised the long friendship between Google and Wikimedia, "Both organisations are committed to bringing high quality information to hundreds of millions of individuals every day, and to making the Internet better for everyone."

Although Google has not previously officially sponsored Wikimedia, the two organisations are frequent collaborators. In late 2009, Google challenged African students to a competition to improve the Kiswahili version of Wikipedia in order to promote internet usage in Africa. Not that the project was entirely void of benefit to Google – the more Africans get online, the more potential customers for the internet giant.

Google and Wikimedia have also collaborated in the software field. Google has included a number of Wikimedia projects in its Summer Of Code programme. One of these, forum system LiquidThreads, is soon to be incorporated into Wikipedia to replace the current, somewhat confusing discussion page.

The donation will be made via the Tides Foundation, which is dedicated to sponsoring projects for social change. It is not designated for a particular purpose, providing the charitable Wikimedia Foundation with financial latitude which is likely to be used to expand the technical infrastructure and for an initiative to make it easier to contribute to the free online encyclopaedia. Wikimedia's annual call for donations has so far turned up more than eight million dollars; the organisation is budgeting for spending amounting to 9.4 millions dollars in the current financial year.

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(Torsten Kleinz)

(Torsten Kleinz / crve)

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