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February 18, 2010

Wikipedia Receives Large Donation From Google

The Internet's largest company, Google, is offering a $2 million gift to Wikipedia to help support the volunteer-driven online encyclopedia that has become one of the net's most read websites, the Associated Press reports.

Google's donation, announced on Wednesday, matches the largest grant made so far to the foundation. Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar donated $2 million six months ago to help support Wikimedia Foundation.

The latest donation has put Wikimedia over its $10.6 million target for the fiscal year ending this June. It seemed to be a daunting, yet ambitious, goal, since it was a 20 percent increase from the $8.7 million needed a year earlier.

Wikipedia and its sister sites have not felt the impact of the worst recession in more than 60 years. Support for the online reference tool is greater than ever. Wikipedia has more than 14 million entries written and edited by as many as 100,000 unpaid contributors, and is available in 270 languages.

Besides the two huge donations from Ebay, and now Google, Wikimedia has gotten most of its revenue from smaller donations made by more than 240,000 individuals this fiscal year. The support allows Wikipedia to expand while keeping the site commercial free. "We intend to keep it that way, too," spokesman Jay Walsh told The Associated Press.

The bulk of the revenue, Wikimedia plans to spend on its small staff of about 30 people, in the form of salaries and benefits. The rest will most likely go to the expense of running the world's largest free-to-the-public online encyclopedia.

Google's donation was tiny compared to the company's $24 billion in revenue at the end of December. Google makes most of its money by running ads with its Internet search results. Many of those ads direct people to Wikipedia. Google co-founder, Sergey Brin, in a statement, hailed Wikipedia as "one of the greatest triumphs of the Internet.

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