free html hit counter Google and Wikipedia | John Battelle's Search Blog

Google and Wikipedia

By - February 18, 2007

This augurs further action on the part of Google (via Digg). I can’t imagine it will stand. From the original posting on Hitwise:

The percentage of Google’s downstream traffic going to Wikipedia increased by 166% year over year (week ending 2/10/07 vs. week ending 2/11/06). Last week Wikipedia was the #3 website in Google’s downstream, after Google Image Search and MySpace.

Regardless of posturing, no business likes to send that much traffic to a third party site without some kind of value coming back. Will Wikipedia start running AdWords? Watch this space. I could imagine some kind of approach that drives revenue to the Wikimedia foundation….

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  • Billy

    I think that Ask had a great idea by making Wiki links the top result for many queries. Google may have just realized that it was also much more relavent than previously thought and changed the “machines” to think that way.

  • JG

    John, I don’t understand why you think that, regardless of posturing, no business likes to send that much traffic to a third party site without some kind of value coming back.

    Isn’t the whole point of Google’s particular posturing exactly the thing that gives it the value coming back? Sorry, that probably wasn’t clear. What I mean is, Google’s whole posturing is that they are the first place you need to go, and the last place you need to look, in order to find the information you need. Right? And so if the information that they provide, if the sites to which they send you, are exactly what you need, then even though you keep going to those sites, you will keep coming back to Google.

    Jason Kottke commented on this almost five years ago. It is a good read, even if you’ve read it before:

    http://www.kottke.org/02/07/elastic-not-sticky

    What this means is that Google is deriving value from sending so much traffic to that third-party site (wikipedia). Growing wikipedia’s traffic, if it really is the best link for a query, grows Google’s, too. Natch?

  • nmw

    goowiki? gooiki? guiki? gooicki! *and* gooicky!!!

    :D nmw

  • SorenG

    I was this week just realizing that more and more of the searches I do take me to Wikipedia. So why do I search on Google when I can just do so on Wikipedia? Habit I guess, but more when I search, I think, “Should I search Google or just go directly to Wikipdei for this?” I am writing a book at the moment so I need for factual information, but from this post, it seems others may be finding the same thing: Wikipedia is becoming more and more useful to get people relevant information.

  • Michael Sennhauser

    I find that searching wikipedia as well as for example imdb via google is a lot faster – as long as you know exactly what you want. Enter a name or film title into google, followed by imdb and you land straight on the mark, usually. Whereas the integrated search of the respective sites takes quite a while longer to get you there. It is somewhat different if I use the integrated searches in Firefox. There it is easier to use wikipedia directly than wikipedia via google.

  • nmw

    I have often maintained that Google functions beautifully as a “white pages” type index.

    See e.g. http://www.e-z.name/FAQ/yellow.html and/or http://www.e-z.name/FAQ/white.html

    If you already know who/what you’re looking for, then why look for it?

    ;D nmw

  • JG

    I was this week just realizing that more and more of the searches I do take me to Wikipedia. So why do I search on Google when I can just do so on Wikipedia?

    Because Google, when it is doing its job correctly, will only take you to wikipedia for those instances (for those queries or topics) for which wikipedia is the most relevant link. For other topics or queries, some other site may be more relevant. So the reason that you would go to Google instead of directly to wikipedia is, essentially, to cover two birds with the same stone, i.e. to know (1) whether wikipedia is the best answer source for your query, and (2) simultaneously give you that answer if it is, or give you some other web page if it is not.

  • JG

    I was this week just realizing that more and more of the searches I do take me to Wikipedia. So why do I search on Google when I can just do so on Wikipedia?

    Because Google, when it is doing its job correctly, will only take you to wikipedia for those instances (for those queries or topics) for which wikipedia is the most relevant link. For other topics or queries, some other site may be more relevant. So the reason that you would go to Google instead of directly to wikipedia is, essentially, to cover two birds with the same stone, i.e. to know (1) whether wikipedia is the best answer source for your query, and (2) simultaneously give you that answer if it is, or give you some other web page if it is not.

  • JG

    Sorry for the repeat posts. I kept getting a MoveableType perl script error each time I posted; I didn’t realize the post was actually going through. Please delete my multiple postings, if possible.

  • dg

    I wish there was a way to set my Google preferences to omit results from wikipedia.

  • http://scottj.info/ Scott Johnson

    I tried adapting AdSense for Wikipedia via a GreaseMonkey script, but the AdSense bot is blocked from the entire site, preventing any of the ads from showing proper contextual content. They really don’t like advertising over there…

  • Norm Potter

    My feeling is that Google will eventually stop indexing Wikipedia. Don’t forget Wikipedia are setting up their own search engine, not using algorithms but using user voting to rank sites.

  • Vera

    Wikipedia will eventually have some real trouble from brand names – when it dominates in Google on a brand and has an entry written poorly and filled with inaccuracies, people get upset and litigation will follow. So far this has been difficult, but the dominance of wikipedia in Google (and the fact that many people are naive enough to believe it is an accurate “encyclopedia”)puts them more in the line of fire should new case law develop in the future. Anyone using wikipedia as their research source to write a book should only be writing fiction.

  • Google Tutor

    I’m on JG with this one. I would say Google’s primary purpose is to be there as the point of entry for most users, and to drive traffic to relevant sites. So if you’re looking for something your tendency is to go to google.com and not elsewhere.

    Now whether or not Google gets something back from that site (monetary, or otherwise) should not have an effect on Google’s bringing up relevant search results and driving relevant traffic to those sites.

    As for searching, I usually do my wikipedia searches on Google because it’s just so darn fast. And I get what I’m looking for on one page, with snippets of text from the results. Wikipedia only gives me a relevance percentage, and I can’t make heads nor tails out of that unless I click and open the pages listed.

  • http://geekfun.com eas

    Anyone know of a Greasemonkey script that will pull wikipedia results out of the top of the google results list and stick it at the bottom?

  • Thomas van Dam

    If you’re using the “multi search box” on your personalised Google homepage, you do have the option of searching directly in Wikipedia. This might have increased traffic from Google to Wikipedia, although I do not have any numbers concerning the usage of multi search.

    There are just some queries that you *know* you will end up at a Wiki article :)