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The Mobile Future of Wikipedia, According to Lila Tretikov (Full Video)

Wikipedia "is going to become much more real time," Tretikov said.

Asa Mathat

As Wikipedia’s usage becomes more mobile — traffic to the online encyclopedia is now more than half mobile in North America, and even more in emerging markets — the site is adapting to the small screen.

New Wikimedia Foundation executive director Lila Tretikov joined this year at a time of great growth for the nonprofit organization behind Wikipedia. The staff doubled in the past year to 220, and Tretikov — a longtime software executive — is leading a renewed emphasis on product and engineering, with an annual budget of $60 million.

Wikipedia’s simple format translates well to mobile, and it isn’t likely to change dramatically any time soon, Tretikov said at our recent Code/Mobile conference, but the service is starting to support quick mobile contributions, tight summaries and local searches.

Wikimedia is also cutting carrier deals to provide free mobile data access to Wikipedia around the world. For example, earlier this year it took just six months for Wikipedia usage in the Philippines to double after free access launched, Tretikov said.

It’s hard to overstate how big Wikipedia is — it’s the fifth-most-trafficked site in the world, with over 20 billion views every month, and that’s counting desktop visits alone. Wikipedia content is also distributed through services like Siri and Google that don’t count toward the traffic total.

Under her leadership and with the way the world is going, Wikipedia “is going to become much more real time — when you need it, how you need it,” Tretikov said.

Here’s the full video of her appearance:

This article originally appeared on

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