Wikipedia is looking to expand its reach by offering articles via text messages. Although this seems to be a far fetched idea, the nonprofit organization aims to roll out this service in the next few months. This service is mainly for expanding Wikipedia’s reach in those countries where mobile data is not yet popular with its users. This service will help those people who cannot afford smart phones or advanced technology to get Wikipedia articles via text messages or USSD service. This revolutionary service is being funded by the $600,000 grant provided by the Knight foundation, a nonprofit media and journalism support organization to Wikimedia.
Kul Takanao, the head of mobile for Wikimedia further adds, “We’re very excited about delivering Wikipedia via text, which we expect to roll out within the next few months. With the program, users will send a text request to Wikipedia and, within seconds, they will get the article to their phone.”
However, the company has not yet specified how they intend to deliver the articles through text messages and it would be interesting to see how the user will be able to get access to large articles via this text messaging feature.
Another such service called Wikipedia Zero was launched in late 2011. With Wikipedia Zero, the nonprofit organization aims to negotiate with carriers all around the world to provide free access to the text only version of their websites. Since its launch, the organization has been able to roll out this service to over 330 million users worldwide. Russia, Europe, Africa, Middle East and other such developing countries have already benefited from this service. However, the success of this service depends a lot on the cooperation of the carriers in their respective countries and the donations that they receive as the organization still relies a lot on these donations to fund their expansion programmes into new markets.
via The Verge