Ever wish that Wikipedia was more easily searchable from your old cellphone, or that the site’s mobile page came in more languages? Perhaps not, at least if you’re a smartphone-carrying, English speaking citizen of the capital-w West. On the other hand, if you’re one of the millions of people coming online via more basic cellphones, you may be really happy to learn that the Wikimedia Foundation just won $600,000 from in the Knight News Challenge: Mobile competition, with the funding earmarked to make the online encyclopedia play better on mobile devices in every corner of the world.
According to a press release from the Knight Foundation, the funding will help Wikimedia develop “features to improve the mobile experience regardless of how feature-rich the device is—including new ways to access Wikipedia via text; increasing the number of languages that can access Wikipedia on mobile; and improving the way feature phones access the platform.”
Wikimedia wasn’t the only winner in the contest, which shelled out $2.4 million to reward projects that harness mobile to inform and engage communities, often in developing economies. Three New York-based organizations also shared in the Knight Foundation riches.
The human rights organization WITNESS got $320,000 for an app, called InformaCam, that helps authenticate photo, video and audio files, stamping the work with metadata that make news organizations more likely to use the work of citizen journalists.
Digital Democracy, meanwhile, will get $200,000 to arm indigenous people with tools to report on the oil and mining companies that operate in the Peruvian Amazon.
And TKOH will get $330,000 for its project, Thread, which its easier to record audio- and video-rich oral histories without being hindered by the need for high technical expertise.