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Google Donates $2 Million To the Wikimedia Foundation

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  • Giving back (Score:5, Insightful)

    by srussia (884021) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @11:47AM (#31185208)
    Google must get huge revenue from searches like $WHATEVER wikipedia
    • by Jeng (926980) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @11:54AM (#31185340)

      Yep, their results are usually within the top ten and usually what I'm looking for.

      Then again.

      I don't see them donating to any of the free porn pages.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by buruonbrails (1247370)
      Google ranks Wikipedia very high in its search results, which bring enormous amount of traffic. Scaling and maintaining the infrastructure to deal with this traffic is the major part of Wikimedia Foundation's expenses. So, Google is in fact responsible for a huge chunk of Wikipedia's expenses, and it probably feels obligated to give Wikipedia some compensation for this.
    • by dangitman (862676) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @02:29PM (#31187680)

      Google must get huge revenue from searches like $WHATEVER wikipedia

      Not from me. I use Wikipedia to find the Google homepage.

  • by Pojut (1027544)

    ...Google, please please please don't even think about offering to buy Wikimedia. I (and others that use their services) appreciate your donation, but it does make me a bit nervous...

    • by Winckle (870180)

      How do you buy a charity?

    • Nothing like that will happen. The Wikimedia Foundation has received large grants before (such as Omidyar's $2M grant [wikimediafoundation.org]). WMF isn't a company you can just 'buy out'. It's a charitable 501(c)(3) organization that is controlled by the Board of Trustees [wikimediafoundation.org], which is composed of 3 community-elected seats, 2 community-seats elected by chapters [wikimediafoundation.org], a "Jimbo-seat" for the Wikipedia founder, and up to four "Specific expertise" seats elected by the board itself (source [wikimedia.org]). Google could attempt to get a "Specific expertise" se

      • by Kagato (116051)

        I don't think Google has any interest in messing with what Wikipedia does, or it's day to day operations. But they could certainly show them how to technically do what they do on a leaner/meaner budget, getting more from the same hardware. And maybe that's the win for Google, a case study in integrating Google technology on a very large third party web site.

      • by pclminion (145572)

        WMF isn't a company you can just 'buy out'. It's a charitable 501(c)(3) organization that is controlled by the Board of Trustees

        Interesting that you mention that. Because of WMF's classification, they are legally required to honor any stipulations that were specified along with the grant money. In other words, Google can ask them to spend the $2 million on specific things, and WMF has to either honor that request, or return the funds to Google. So I'm wondering if there were any interesting stipulations a

    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      Its difficult to buy a non-profit. You cant just put in an offer. You pretty much have to convince the board to switch to a private system and hand over the organization as a sale. I doubt Jimbo can even do this. The result would be a massive migration away from the Googlepedia and its collapse.

      • So far, no amount of shady dealings and messups from Jimbo has caused mass migration and collapse. For good and bad, Wikipedia is a machine running on its own steam now. I'm not sure even an attempt to sell out (or should we say another? He has his for-profit sister project after all) would be sufficient.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    As the article already states: there are "long-term motivations" at play here, (probably to soften its image) in preparation for some new project, as already mentioned with Firefox and Chrome.

    As usual, since the article summary does not include this info which is easily found by reading the article, people will speculate here in the forums and end up rewriting the article themselves :D

  • May be (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CSHARP123 (904951) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @11:51AM (#31185264)
    because Bing does http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Benefactors [wikimediafoundation.org]
  • I had completely forgotten Knol existed until right now. I promptly did a quick search for a popular video game's title and was given this [google.com].

    Chilling the circuits is still not efficient if you are using more electricity to do it... But chilling the circuits in outer space could be done efficiently by using the cold environment of space itself to chill them...

    It looks like they've basically reinvented Geocities.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Meanwhile, a search for "mass spectrometry" gives me a page copied exactly from a mass spec manufacturer's web site. I can tell because Google helpfully flags the original site as "similar content" on the web. There's not much screening going on there!

    • Knol isn't meant to be a general encyclopedia but a database for articles. It isn't collaborative and only one author can edit it. That means you're relying on the authors reputation and authority. So unlike an encyclopedia, you can cite it. A number of Wikipedia pages link to reputable sources on Knol.

      • Actually, knol articles have three different collaboration settings: Open, like wikipedia, moderated (anyone can suggest changes but it has to be approved by someone with edit privileges) and closed (only the creator and people with explicit privileges).

        It's just that the open mode is unpopular. People who prefer that write on wikipedia instead, it seems, or maybe it's just a result of defaults. Last 12 hours only 4 open articles were created, vs. 254 moderated, 13 closed.

    • by iknowcss (937215)
      From the linked article:

      If Millikan could neutralize the force of Gravity by opposing it with a simple Electromagnetic Force, then Gravity must be a simple Electromagnetic Force of Classical Physics.

      Makes sense to me. I wish I was that smart :)

  • $2m, not that much (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tiger32kw (1236584)
    because Google makes $500m a year off typos...
  • I'd be more impressed if Google would donate even $50-100.000 to Wikileaks - it brings almost as much good as Wikipedia. Not every benefit is directly visible.

    • by Locklin (1074657)

      Especially considering Wikileaks is currently offline [wikileaks.org] and looking for financial support to continue paying the bills.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jgtg32a (1173373)

      Wikileaks would reject it though, they have a policy against that.

  • by bigsexyjoe (581721) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @12:01PM (#31185460)
    I mean this just isn't that much to them.

    They probably mostly did it for publicity. And this article on Slashdot was probably $2 million worth of good press to them.

    Remember, a lot of people on this site are avid technologists who are becoming suspicious of Google now over privacy and such things. But they are all going to have a geekgasm over this donation to Wikipedia.

  • Maybe Google will buy the Firefox guys an H.264 license. I wonder if they would accept it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Enderandrew (866215)

      Could Google just completely buy out whoever owns the H.264 patents?

      • Could Google just completely buy out whoever owns the H.264 patents?

        Hell no. I don't think Google has the cash to buy a 51 percent stake in each of these companies [mpegla.com]. For one thing, Google (market cap 171 billion USD) would have to buy Apple (market cap 184 billion USD).

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Enderandrew (866215)

          I didn't say they had to buy every company who purchased a license. They'd have to buy the patent owner.

          Google, Microsoft, Apple, IBM, etc. have a history of purchasing patent owners rather than attempting to license themselves from time to time.

          If Google bought the patent owner, then Apple and everyone on that list would have to pay license fees to Google.

          MPEG LA is a LLC, not a publicly traded corp. So I can't easily figure out with a quick search what the approximate net worth of the company is. But it m

          • I didn't say they had to buy every company who purchased a license. They'd have to buy the patent owner.

            The page I linked has the title "licensors", which means "patent holders". There is no single H.264 patent holder; the patent pool is spread out among a couple dozen companies and administered by MPEG LA.

    • by FooAtWFU (699187)
      If they can redistribute it under the relevant open-source license (MPL, is it?), I'm sure they will. Otherwise, they'll probably not know what to do with it.
    • by bflong (107195)

      It wouldn't matter. They still couldn't allow it to be redistributed. They would have to keep track of every Firefox download and pay a fee for each one. Nobody could include Firefox in any other download. Linux distros would have to fork it to strip the patented code out. Mozilla is making the right choice by pushing for an open video format instead of trying to find a 'workaround' for getting h.264 working. H.264 is a minefield and doesn't belong on an open and Free Internet.

      • by X0563511 (793323)

        The licensor can license it under an arbitrary and discretionary license, should they chose.

        Were Google to give them a huge chunk of money, they might just give Mozilla limited redistribution rights.

  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @12:02PM (#31185486) Homepage
    Well Google still is relatively a new company (at least as a company successful enough to be handing out millions to charity), I am sure they just never got around to it yet.
    Big companies give money to charity and Wikimedia makes sense for Internet based companies like Google because they make the web so much more worth using.
  • Its not like Google bought a controlling interest in wp, it was a donation. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
    • Actually, as a long-time Wikipedia contributor I have mixed views on this. I think you underestimate the potential influence a large donor can have. Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects claim to have a neutral point of view. That view could be potentially influenced by major donors if they donate enough. In general, the Foundation has very little input into editing, but occasionally does step in, generally when there is some major legal reason or when a Foundation board member (such as Jim Wales) is
  • Probably a Waste (Score:5, Insightful)

    by afabbro (33948) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @12:44PM (#31186108) Homepage

    The problem with giving to Wikimedia is that they have been so wasteful of the money they've been given. The move to the Bay Area is chief exhibit #1 - why move an organization whose whole purpose, mission, and asset is a web page to one of the most expensive real estate locations on earth?

    I'm not the only one who thinks Wikimedia has more than enough money [kuro5hin.org].

    • Re:Probably a Waste (Score:4, Informative)

      by DerekLyons (302214) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (retawriaf)> on Thursday February 18, 2010 @02:08PM (#31187280) Homepage

      Even more interesting is to compare their 2007-2008 [wikimediafoundation.org] budget with their 2008-2009 [wikimediafoundation.org] budget.

      • Mod parent up!

        This is very interesting. So technology expenses as a percentage dropped by a total of 12% between 2008 and 2009? That's a big drop -- anyone have any idea what would account for this?
    • by Angst Badger (8636) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @02:12PM (#31187340)

      The move to the Bay Area is chief exhibit #1 - why move an organization whose whole purpose, mission, and asset is a web page to one of the most expensive real estate locations on earth?

      Easy -- close proximity and easy access to well-heeled donors.

    • Wikipedia is an accomplishment of immense proportions.

      For what is does directly as well as for the example it sets on what is possible on the Internet.

      Larry Page and Sergey Brin have made a gesture recognizing this accomplishment, as the mission of Google shares a lot with Wikipedia's.

      Kudos to them for applauding the work of a competitor. I raise my hat.

    • by Eil (82413)

      Non-profits are often "non-profit" only in the sense that they don't follow the traditional business model and the organization itself doesn't keep the donations given to it. The employees who work for non-profits, however, can be compensated very well for their time.

      (Disclaimer: I'm not dogging all non-profits here. I'm sure there are many that are run almost entirely on volunteers, have little overhead, and do a lot of good for the cause that they serve. But as an I.T. consultant, I've had an up-close vie

  • On popular topics, Google is only useful as interface to Wikipedia or IMDB or the like. Occasionally a few other links are useful, but most of the time they are "we have more information on widgets" with tons of ads.

    On technical topics I just go directly to the place I know, like Wolfram.

    • On popular topics, Google is only useful as interface to Wikipedia or IMDB or the like.

      On any topic, Google's search engine is designed to be an interface to the rest of the web, not a source of its own.

      Your complaint is like complaining that a car is useful only as a means of transportation.

      • by pavon (30274)

        No he complaining that Google is not being an adequate interface to the rest of the web because the only things showing up in his search are Wikipedia and link farms. This is like complaining about a car that will only take you to the library and stores, and not any other building.

        • No he complaining that Google is not being an adequate interface to the rest of the web because the only things showing up in his search are Wikipedia and link farms.

          Since he said it was good only as a gateway to Wikipedia, IMDB, and similar sites for popular queries, that's very different that your characterization. Sure, its a complaint that, for any given set of subject matter, there one or a small number of useful sites, and lots of parasitic ones, but that still leaves Google as useful for searching th

          • by pavon (30274)

            Except I know for a fact that for many things I am searching for the problem isn't lack of sites with the correct information. I will search for information about product x, and get nothing but sites selling x for the first three pages. I will try searching for "x reviews" or simular and get nothing but link-farms and very poor quality sites (stuff like about.com). I will then restrict my search to a site that I know about, and sure enough they have the information I need.

            So it isn't that sites containing t

            • So it isn't that sites containing the information aren't available, or aren't being indexed, they just aren't being given proper weighting in the search results. That would be my two biggest wishlist items for searching - do better at filtering out linkfarms, and have a switch I could select to exclude commerce sites from a specific search.

              IME, using the search options and selecting "Fewer shopping sites" seems to do a fairly good job of living up to its name, eliminating most shopping sites from the result

  • by Errtu76 (776778)

    I just learned that Google earns 500m on typos alone. Wikipedia is full of typos (and incorrect 'facts', but that's another issue). The 2m is just a "thank you".

  • I can see how the submitter might be surprised that Google would help Wikipedia, which competed with its own Knol, because Google has certainly never tried [wikinews.org] to do this before [slashdot.org]
  • The whole point of Knol was to provide source material for Wikipedia articles. Remember?

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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