facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Wikipedia to offer articles by phone text in Africa

Oct. 25, 2013 at 6:23 PM   |   Comments

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Wikipedia is starting a pilot project to deliver articles via text on smartphones it says is primarily aimed at users in Africa who don't have Internet access.

The free initiative is being tested in Kenya in a 3-month trial in cooperation with Indian mobile provider Airtel, Wikipedia said.

"Throughout most of the developing world, data-enabled smartphones are the exception, not the rule," Dan Foy, technical partner manager for the Wikimedia Foundation, wrote in a posting.

"That means billions of people currently cannot see Wikipedia on their phones."

Users who to dial *515# can activate the service, dubbed Wikipedia Zero, and search for articles, which will be sent to the user's phone in message-sized portions.

Tom Jakcson, the editor of African technology news website HumanIPO hailed Wikipedia's initiative as a welcomed effort.

"There has been a steady move towards putting educational material online in many African countries, led mainly by the private sector rather than governments, but access to the Internet remains a problem given that most Africans surf on their phones rather than browsers," Jackson told the BBC.

"This step increases the chances of access, especially as there is functionality to provide Wikipedia via SMS," he said. "Feature phones are still dominant in Africa, so this is a helpful addition."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
trending
Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
1
Hurricane Katrina nine years later
2
Latvia boasts world's first net for migrating bats
3
Apple reportedly delays launch of rumored iWatch
4
New space debris monitoring facility set for Australia
5
Type Ia supernovas: the zombies of the cosmos
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback