Google has agreed to pay Wikipedia for content displayed by its search engine, mirroring deals the US tech giant has struck with news outlets in Europe.
The Wikimedia Foundation, the charity that oversees the online encyclopedia, said Google was the first paying customer for its commercial venture Wikimedia Enterprise, which it launched last year.
The Internet Archive, a non-profit that runs a site called the Wayback Machine that saves snapshots of websites and is used to fix Wikipedia links, will be offered the commercial services for free. “We’re thrilled to be working with them both as our longtime partners,” said Wikimedia’s Lane Becker in a statement on Tuesday.
Wikipedia, one of the world’s most visited websites, is free to use, updated by volunteers and relies on donations to keep afloat.
The new commercial arm will not change that arrangement for individual users, the foundation said.
Google uses material from the site for its “knowledge panel” — a sidebar that accompanies the main search results. The source of the information is not always shown, a practice that had sparked complaints from Wikimedia. Google has previously given money to Wikipedia through donations and grants.
“We have long supported the Wikimedia Foundation in pursuit of our shared goals of expanding knowledge and information access for people everywhere,” said Google’s Tim Palmer. The foundation’s statement did not reveal the value of the Google contract.
French regulators and Google on Tuesday ended a years-long dispute by agreeing a framework for the US firm to pay news outlets for content.