Google gives money to Wikipedia

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John F
Posts: 20787
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Google gives money to Wikipedia

Post by John F » Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:43 am

They've done it before, and now they're more than doubling their support. As far as this article goes, Google is not trying to influence Wikipedia's content but to expand its coverage in languages other than English and to secure its future through endowment. No doubt there will be those who believe Google has bad ulterior motives - cynicism can look smarter than acceptance even when it isn't. But to me this looks like a clear gain for both parties.

Google Gives Wikimedia Millions—Plus Machine Learning Tools
Louise Matsakis
01.22.19

Google is pouring an additional $3.1 million into Wikipedia, bringing its total contribution to the free encyclopedia over the past decade to more than $7.5 million, the company announced at the World Economic Forum Tuesday. A little over a third of those funds will go toward sustaining current efforts at the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that runs Wikipedia, and the remaining $2 million will focus on long-term viability through the organization’s endowment.

Google will also begin allowing Wikipedia editors to use several of its machine learning tools for free, the tech giant said. What's more, Wikimedia and Google will soon broaden Project Tiger, a joint initiative they launched in 2017 to increase the number of Wikipedia articles written in underrepresented languages in India, and to include 10 new languages in a handful of countries and regions. It will now be called GLOW, Growing Local Language Content on Wikipedia.

It’s certainly positive that Google is investing more in Wikipedia, one of the most popular and generally trustworthy online resources in the world. But the decision isn’t altruistic: Supporting Wikipedia is also a shrewd business decision that will likely benefit Google for years to come. Like other tech companies, including Amazon, Apple, and Facebook, Google already uses Wikipedia content in a number of its own products. When you search Google for “Paris,” a “knowledge panel” of information about the city will appear, some of which is sourced from Wikipedia. The company also has used Wikipedia articles to train machine learning algorithms, as well as fight misinformation on YouTube.

Even efforts like GLOW—which will now expand to Indonesia, Mexico, and Nigeria, as well as the Middle East and North Africa—can help Google’s own bottom line. When the initiative first launched in India, Google provided Chromebooks and internet access to editors, while the Centre for Internet and Society and the Wikimedia India Chapter organized a three-month article writing competition that resulted in nearly 4,500 new Wikipedia articles in 12 different Indic languages. Smartphone penetration in India is only around 27 percent; as more people in the country start using Android smartphones and Google Search, those articles will make the tech giant’s products more useful. Wikipedia’s blog post announcing Google’s new investment makes this strategy fairly clear, noting that the company also provided Project Tiger with “insights into popular search topics on Google for which no or limited local language content exists on Wikipedia.”

Google is also providing Wikipedia free access to its Custom Search API and its Cloud Vision API, which will help the encyclopedia’s volunteer editors more easily cite the facts they use. Each time a Wikipedia editor adds a new piece of information to an article, they need to cite the source where they learned it. The Search API will allow them quickly look up sources on the web without having to leave Wikipedia, while the vision tool will let editors automatically digitize books so they can be used to support Wikipedia articles too. Earlier this month, Wikimedia also announced Google Translate was coming to Wikipedia, allowing editors to convert content into 15 additional languages, bringing the total available to 121.

These machine learning tools will absolutely make it easier for Wikipedia to reach people who speak languages currently underrepresented on the web. But the encyclopedia is also the reason many AI programs exist in the first place. For example, Google-owned Jigsaw has used Wikipedia, in part, to train its open source troll-fighting AI. The encyclopedia is also used by hundreds of other AI platforms, particularly because every Wikipedia article is under Creative Commons—meaning it can be reproduced for free without copyright restrictions. Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa smart assistants use information from Wikipedia to answer questions, for instance. (Both companies also have donated to the Wikimedia Foundation as well.)

Google’s new investments in Wikipedia, specifically in GLOW, will address a genuine problem. The majority of Wikipedia’s tens of millions of articles are in English or European languages like French, German, and Russian. (There are also lots of articles in Swedish and two versions of Filipino, but most of these pages were created by a prolific bot). As the estimated half of Earth’s population that still lacks an internet connection comes online, it will be important that reliable information is available in the native languages people speak. That doesn’t mean, though, that in helping solve these issues companies like Google—or Facebook—don’t also have something to gain.

https://www.wired.com/story/google-wiki ... languages/
John Francis

Belle
Posts: 1997
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Re: Google gives money to Wikipedia

Post by Belle » Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:40 pm

I don't think cynicism has anything to do with it; this is the new reality.

https://www.wired.com/story/is-big-tech ... nsiteshare

John F
Posts: 20787
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Google gives money to Wikipedia

Post by John F » Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:47 am

By cynicism I mean "an inclination to believe that people are motivated purely by self-interest" (my emphasis), even when they do good deeds that harm no one. I believe credit should be given where it is due.
John Francis

Belle
Posts: 1997
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Re: Google gives money to Wikipedia

Post by Belle » Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:13 am

John F wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:47 am
By cynicism I mean "an inclination to believe that people are motivated purely by self-interest" (my emphasis), even when they do good deeds that harm no one. I believe credit should be given where it is due.
Let's just say the tendency of Google to de-platform anyone who doesn't conform to their ideology and an unwillingness to pay tax in Australia has been the catalyst for my cynicism.

John F
Posts: 20787
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Google gives money to Wikipedia

Post by John F » Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:56 am

Belle wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:13 am
Let's just say the tendency of Google to de-platform anyone who doesn't conform to their ideology and an unwillingness to pay tax in Australia has been the catalyst for my cynicism.
Exploiting tax shelters is not illegal and frankly I don't see it as immoral. It's a standard business practice whose effect is not only to help the company's profit margin but to keep the price of its products down. Google's price for us users is zero. Where's the beef?

I don't know what you mean by "de-platform anyone who doesn't conform to their ideology." Can you give me an example?
John Francis

Belle
Posts: 1997
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Re: Google gives money to Wikipedia

Post by Belle » Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:01 pm

John F wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:56 am
Belle wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:13 am
Let's just say the tendency of Google to de-platform anyone who doesn't conform to their ideology and an unwillingness to pay tax in Australia has been the catalyst for my cynicism.
Exploiting tax shelters is not illegal and frankly I don't see it as immoral. It's a standard business practice whose effect is not only to help the company's profit margin but to keep the price of its products down. Google's price for us users is zero. Where's the beef?

I don't know what you mean by "de-platform anyone who doesn't conform to their ideology." Can you give me an example?
What a shift in values for a liberal of the left; suddenly a huge corporation is the good guy!!! Is this all it takes? A person who supports social justice now thinks it's OK for an international cartel to avoid tax - legitimately or not. What about their social obligations to the citizens/government? They're getting a leave pass because they talk the talk!! Would you have been happy for big tobacco to avoid tax because it wanted to help the profit margin? My head is spinning!! It may seem strange to you that a conservative like myself does care about the working class and how they're being screwed over.

I'm wondering who is looking after freedoms and the little guy these days; major political parties have abandoned that space in your country and mine and need to return to core business. In the meantime we will have huge political instability. It's rancid and toxic (to use the popular parlance of the day!).

Google sacked James Damore because he sent around an essay at Google suggesting that men and women have psychological and life differences which explain the gender pay gap - everthing he said was based on vast reams of data. Out the door in a spectacular fashion because he didn't conform to their ideology. An important debate shut down! The subject of international controversy and Damore was supported by Steven Pinker from Harvard, amongst others. Today Google might support your political ideology, but what if it stops doing that? You made a similar comment/question in the discussion about Gillette and "toxic masculinity" which I thought was fair and valid. Just recently I was watching a documentary about the rise of Hitler and the enabling of him by the educated middle class in Germany and Austria who fell in lockstep behind him and his saturated propaganda machine.

"De-platforming' is a computer term which means "no voice". Google censors because it doesn't condone heterodoxy. There are other examples of sites being de-platformed (censored). Here's some background - from Wiki!!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_by_Google

Obviously we're never going to agree on this and are poles apart. I'm doing quite a bit of reading at the moment on social licences (such as freedom of speech), hierarchies, new technology and its impact on politics. These ideas are found in books, some specialist journals and long form interviews on U-Tube and never adequately covered by newspapers and TV networks which have developed business models based upon confirmation bias.

And it's worth remembering that lack of freedom is the historical default position of societies and not the reverse. How easily it can all be lost. No wonder Beethoven was so enthusiastic about the ideals of the Enlightenment!!

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