Never Enough! Even Google Needs To Buy Data

July 15, 2022

Google needs to buy data. Say what? That seems to be a contrary sentence, but The Verge explains that: “Google Is Paying The Wikimedia Foundation For Better Access To Information.” It would make sense that Google would buy large datasets to feed/instruct its AI projects, but why would the search engine need to buy Wikimedia Foundation information? Google is one of the first Wikimedia Enterprise customers and the company wants to buy its data to be the most accurate and up-to-date search engine. The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit organization that created Wikipedia.

Google’s crawlers already scrape Wikipedia’s pages, but that has the downside of being outdated and inaccurate. Google will no longer need to rely on free data dumps and free APIs. Wikimedia Enterprise customers are given access to proprietary APIs that recycle and process information at larger rates. Google has loved Wikipedia for years:

“Although you may not notice it, Google uses Wikimedia’s services in a number of ways. The most obvious is within its “knowledge panels,” which appear on the side of search results pages when you look up the people, places, or things within Google’s massive database. Wikipedia is one of the sources Google frequently uses to populate the information inside these panels. Google also cites Wikipedia in the information panels it adds to some YouTube videos to fight misinformation and conspiracy theories (although it didn’t really inform Wikimedia of its plans to do so ahead of time).”

Google has not explained how it will use the Wikimedia Foundation, but we can surmise that it will be cited more and pushed to the top of search results more. The Internet Archive also is a Wikimedia Foundation customer.

Whitney Grace, July 15, 2022


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