Friday, December 02, 2005

Wikipedia Is The Next Google

There is quite a lot of buzz about a blogentry by Steve Rubel; Wikipedia Is The Next Google is together with the comments a nice read. For me there are two things to this article; the disruptive nature of organisations and Wikipedia.

When disruptive technology apears, it changes business as usual. It has done so in our society from the moment when innovation was considered to be good. Innovation was never considered to be universally good, but it led to our current society with a number of people having it good in a way that could not be conceived one hundred years ago. In a way, with the ever increasing speed of communication, new ideas get an audience with an ever increasing speed.

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, it is internet based and it is growing as quickly as new servers can be brought online. It can only do this because of the huge pent up demand for affordable information that has a neutral point of view. Important is the realisation that Wikipedia is not one but many encyclopedias. Every month there is yet another language that gets its own Wikipedia.

These wikipedias all have the ambition to equal the star wikipedias like the German and the English Wikipedia. They will have to grow from a small project where everybody knows everbody to a project where even the heroes of last year are not known by all anymore. Slowly but surely these project create Free information and get the recognition for the viability of the languages they express.

Certainly when there are few resources in a language, the impact that a wikipedia may have is big. Comparatively Wikipedia cannot be as important for languages like English and German as it could be for Swahili. It will take its own good time..

With all this talk about disruptive technology, it is fun for me to predict that Wikidata and Ultimate Wiktionary will be disruptive in their own right. It will be in more ways than one.. I am anxious in how conservative the Wikimedia crowd will prove to be. If they are like I expect them to be, they will allow both Wikidata and Ultimate Wiktionary to develop its potential.


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