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Updated: September 26, 2010 17:32 IST

Wikipedia to open India office soon

PTI
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Screenshot of a Wiki page. Wikipedia will shortly be launching an India office, besides setting up an India chapter of the Wiki Foundation.
Screenshot of a Wiki page. Wikipedia will shortly be launching an India office, besides setting up an India chapter of the Wiki Foundation.

Wikipedia, the world’s free online encyclopaedia, will shortly be launching an India office — probably in Mumbai — besides setting up an India chapter of the Wiki Foundation.

Wikipedia is one of most visited sites after Google with about 375 million visitors a month.

“We will be launching the Wiki Foundation’s India Chapter in Bangalore shortly and an India office of Wikipedia by early 2011,” Wikimedia Foundation Chief Global Development Officer Barry Newstead told PTI.

On whether opening an India office involves setting up a server here, he said, “Our servers are based in the U.S. only, and India will have a caching centre to make the site faster.”

“We have already registered the India Chapter under the Karnataka Charitable Societies’ Act and soon we will be launching this actively,” Newstead said further.

On the location of the proposed office, he said, it could be either in Mumbai, New Delhi or in Bangalore as it is yet to be finalised.

Newstead, who left his plum job with the Boston Consultancy Group to join the executive management team of Wikimedia as chief global development officer in June 2010, is here to scout for a national programme director for India and to choose the best city to open the India office.

“I always have a passion for education and knowledge, and hence my decision to make a career working on social issues,” is how Newstead described his decision to quit his BCG job and take up this low-paying job.

“The top priority of the Wikimedia Foundation is to support growth of communities of Wikimedians in India from across the multitude of languages here,” Newstead said.

“We are planning to work with the community to spread the word about Wikimedia’s work with the goal of enabling millions more Indians to contribute to and benefit from Wikimedia’s free knowledge projects,” he added.

Though Wikipedia is available in all the official languages in the country barring Dongri, the Foundation will focus on more local content in top 10 languages here, he said.

On what makes India special, he said, “India is important to us, as it’s the fourth-largest country in terms of Internet users with about 80 million users and is projected to touch 150 million in the next five years. Also, there is a very vibrant Wiki network here.”


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