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Google donates $2 million to Wikimedia

Search colossus is helping to fund the group that operates Wikipedia, founder Jimmy Wales says. Also: 958 million Wiki edits and counting.

Google has made a $2 million donation to the Wikimedia Foundation, the group behind the widely used Wikipedia reference site.

Jimmy Wales, a member of the board who helped create Wikipedia, announced the donation in a tweet on Tuesday. He said a formal announcement would come Wednesday.

Google and Wikimedia did indeed make a formal announcement of the grant, saying the funds will support technical infrastructure to support growing traffic and to help make Wikipedia "easier to use and more accessible."

"Wikipedia is one of the greatest triumphs of the Internet. This vast repository of community-generated content is an invaluable resource to anyone who is online," Google co-founder Sergey Brin said in a statement.

Wikimedia is funded primarily by individual donations, the organization said. In its fund-raiser for 2009 and 2010, 240,000 people donated more than $8 million--three quarters of Wikimedia's budget.

Mitch Kapor, a Wikimedia advisory board member, also announced the Google funding.

Wikipedia is a vast source of information posted online and edited by individuals rather than a central authority. Its pages emerge frequently in Google searches. Other Wikimedia projects include the Wikibooks book repository, the Wiktionary dictionary, and the Wikimedia Commons repository of images and other media files.

So far, more than 958 million editing changes have been made to Wikimedia projects, according to the organization's statistics counter.

Updated 9:50 a.m. PST: with confirmation and details.

Via TechCrunch