Wikipedia is arguably one of the most influential site on the web. The website has recently been working on ways to get the information it provides out to as many people as possible, as easy as possible.
One of the issues Wikipedia is taking on is getting that information to users who do not have access to the most reliable Internet connections.
The people who run Wikipedia think they have found one way to battle sporadic Internet connections. The website is working on a plan that would text its information to users’ cellphones.
Kul Takanao Wadhwa, who is in charge of the site’s mobile format wrote a blog post on Knightfoundation.org detailing why the site was making this move.
We’re in the middle of an information revolution that’s changing the way billions of people in developing countries obtain news and knowledge. With a $10 cell phone, a high school student in New Delhi or a cab driver in Dakar can access the Internet and — through Wikipedia and other websites – learn volumes about virtually any subject.
The problem that is still out there is that people cannot necessarily afford to be loading page after page on their phone, depending on their data plan.
Wadhwa points out that Wikipedia has rolled out Wikipedia Zero, which has far fewer graphics, becoming only a text based site. That alone will drive down the cost of the data use down.
The Verge reports that the next step in the plan to get the site to as many users as possible is by sending them text messages of the information they’re looking for.
A user will send a text message with a question about a particular topic. The plan is that within seconds they will get a link to the Wikipedia page that will have the answers they are looking for.
Wikipedia says it expects to be able to roll out the text service in the next few months.