Wikipedia targets 1 billion users in mobile strategy

Wikipedia is looking to use mobile phones to double its current number of users to a billion by 2015, according to a senior executive.

Jay Walsh, senior director of communications at the Wikimedia Foundation, told AFP that the spread of mobile in developing countries would assist Wikipedia’s expansion.

Walsh accepts that there are challenges in reaching people in areas of computer scarcity, with the online encyclopedia needing to adapt to accommodate those people via mobile.

“It’s surprisingly challenging to take your website and make it available on the simplest phone,” Walsh said to AFP in Tokyo on Sunday. “In areas like the Middle East, opening your phone and accessing a project like Wikipedia could cost you the equivalent of the couple of US dollars, which is a serious amount of money in those countries.

“We’re trying to eliminate that barrier so people don’t have to think about that.”

Wikipedia is cementing partnerships with telecoms providers such as Orange and VimpelCom to push this expansion in an initiative called Wikipedia Zero.

Posted in: Mobile

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