Internet connectivity may appear as a basic human commodity in developed nations, but in developing countries, access to internet is still only intermittently available. To accommodate for this, Wikipedia has unveiled its plans of allowing the users to request Wikipedia articles through text messages.
Smartphones have gained a significant traction in a number of developing markets. However, the sheer lack of good-speed internet access in many such markets has inhibited the users from accessing many web-based services. Among these is the wildly popular online encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Thankfully, the Wikimedia Foundation, which overlooks the development and maintenance of Wikipedia itself, is well aware of this problem and has been working on devising in such a way which would let users of developing countries to access the encyclopedia without any hassle.
One such way, the Foundation has found, can be to allow the users to access Wikipedia articles by sending text messages. Users can specify the exact Wikipedia article they are looking for so that they incur minimum cellular charges. The ‘Wikipedia via text’ venture has been funded through a $600,000 grant from the Knight Foundation.
Commenting on this plan, the head of mobile for the Wikimedia Foundation, Kul Takanao Wadhwa stated, “We’re very excited about delivering Wikipedia via text, which we expect to roll out within the next few months. With the program, users will send a text request to Wikipedia and, within seconds, they will get the article to their phone.” These are certainly welcome news for Wikipedia users based in developing countries.