Google has agreed to pay Wikipedia for an improved version of its services, amid a growing trend of trade deals between the US tech giant and other internet companies.
The Wikimedia Foundation, the charity that oversees the online encyclopedia, said Google was the first customer to pay its commercial enterprise Wikimedia Enterprise, launched last year.
In the meantime, the service will be offered free of charge to the Internet Archive, a non-profit organization that runs the Wayback Machine, which periodically saves website screenshots and is used to fix Wikipedia links.
“We are delighted to be working with our longtime partners,” Wikimedia’s Lane Becker said in a statement Tuesday. The text did not reveal the value of the contract with Google.
Wikipedia, one of the most visited sites in the world, is free to use, updated by volunteers and depends on donations to stay active. The new commercial arm will not change how it works for individual users, the foundation noted.
Google uses material from the site for its “knowledge panel”, a sidebar that tracks top search results and doesn’t always show the source of the information, which has led to complaints from Wikimedia.
According to the foundation, its new product offers customers a “feed of real-time content updates from Wikimedia projects” that goes beyond what is publicly available.
The service is “designed to make it easier for these entities to package and share Wikimedia content,” it said in the statement.
Google has previously funded Wikipedia through donations and grants, but the new deal formalizes the business relationship between the two.
“For a long time we have supported the Wikimedia Foundation in pursuit of our shared goals of expanding people’s knowledge and access to information everywhere,” said Tim Palmer of Google.
Google has long had troubled relationships with other sites. It has even tried to create a Wikipedia competitor called Knol, although the venture has failed.
But the company has changed tack in recent years and is increasingly striking deals, particularly with media companies.
French regulators and Google on Tuesday ended a years-old dispute by setting a milestone for the US company to pay media outlets for their content.
Google said it had already reached agreements with hundreds of media outlets across Europe, including Agence France-Presse (AFP).