In Kenya, Wikipedia articles are now available via SMS

    The Wikimedia Foundation has announced a partnership with Airtel, an international operator that plans to provide free access to Wikipedia articles for African people using ordinary mobile phones.

    Although some telecom operators on the continent provide the “zero traffic” service for accessing Wikipedia’s mobile versions, the project is aimed primarily at people who don’t have a smartphone and, moreover, an active Internet connection. According to available statistics in Kenya, approximately 60% of the population have mobile phones, but spending on them makes up almost a quarter of monthly income. Thus, free access for them to the network encyclopedia (even taking into account the fact that this is a smartphone and there is access to the network) can be very useful. Kenya was selected as the country for the pilot program.

    SMS Wikipedia works in much the same way as other SMS services. The phone owner needs to send a USSD request * 515 # and wait until the system asks to enter the topic of interest for search:


    Next, Wikipedia articles containing the entered word will be shown. Like that:


    And finally, it will be possible to select sections of the article selected at the previous stage:


    As a result of all these manipulations, an SMS message with a length of 270 characters will be generated based on the results of previous requests, and you can continue reading the article with the help of which:


    The SMS access program itself is still pilot in nature and launched to understand the popularity of the service and how it will work in principle. If the results turn out to be positive, then "the service will become widely available for billions of people who have mobile phones, but no Internet access."

    [ Source ]

    Also popular now: