Wikimedia blog

News from the Wikimedia Foundation and about the Wikimedia movement

Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Introducing Wikipedia’s new HTML5 video player

A new video player has been enabled on Wikipedia and its sister sites, and it comes with the promise of bringing free educational videos to more people, on more devices, in more languages.

The player is the same HTML5 player used in the Kaltura open-source video platform. It has been integrated with MediaWiki (the software that runs Wikimedia sites like Wikipedia) through an extension called TimedMediaHandler. It replaces an older Ogg-only player that has been in use since 2007.

The new player supports closed captions in multiple languages.

Based on HTML5, the new player plays audio and video files on wiki pages. It brings many new features, like advanced support for closed captions and other timed text. By allowing contributors to transcribe videos, the new player is a significant step towards accessibility for hearing-impaired Wikipedia readers. Captions can easily be translated into many languages, thus expanding their potential audience.

TimedMediaHandler also comes with other useful features, like support for the royalty-free WebM video format. Support for WebM makes it possible to seamlessly import videos encoded to that format, such as freely-licensed content from YouTube’s massive library.

Even further behind the scenes, TimedMediaHandler adds support for server-side transcoding, i.e. the ability to convert from one video format to another, in order to deliver the appropriate video stream to the user depending on their bandwidth and the size of the player. For example, support for mobile formats is available, although it is not currently enabled.

The player’s “Share” feature provides a short snippet of code to directly embed videos from Wikimedia Commons in web pages and blog posts, as is the case here.

Sponsored by Kaltura and Google, developers Michael Dale and Jan Gerber are the main architects of the successful launch of the new player. With the support of the Wikimedia Foundation’s engineering team and Kaltura, they have gone through numerous cycles of development, review and testing to finally release the fruits of years of work.

Efforts to better integrate video content to Wikipedia and its sister sites date back to early 2008, when Kaltura and the Wikimedia Foundation announced their first collaborative video experiment. Since then, incremental improvements have been released, but the deployment of TimedMediaHandler is the most significant achievement to date. (more…)

Project ideas, students, and mentors wanted to improve Wikimedia tech this summer

Google Summer of Code 2012

Google Summer of Code 2012

For the seventh year in a row, Wikimedia Foundation is participating in the Google Summer of Code program. Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a program where Google pays summer students USD 5000 each to code for open source projects for three months (read more).

We hope 2012′s students will develop useful chunks of MediaWiki, help us get their code shipped, and fall in love with our community such that they stay with us for years to come.

This year’s project ideas include improvements to CentralNotice, taxobox editing, search, translation tools, and more.  Interested?

University, community college, and graduate students around the world are eligible to apply to Google Summer of Code. You don’t need to be a computer science or IT major, and you can work from home.

MediaWiki logo

MediaWiki is the Wikimedia Foundation's key open source project, powering Wikipedia and our other sites.

We are looking for students who already know some PHP. We also strongly prefer for you to have some experience working with Linux, Apache, and MySQL environments, and with the Git version control system. If you haven’t contributed to MediaWiki before, How to become a MediaWiki hacker is a good place to start; we will strongly prefer candidates who submit patches before the April 6th GSoC application deadline.

If you’d like to participate, check out the timeline. Make sure you are available full-time from 21 May till 20 August 2012, and have a little free time from 23 April till 20 May for ramp-up. Please read our wiki page and start talking with us on IRC in #mediawiki on Freenode about a possible project.  Then you’ll write a proposal and submit it via the official GSoC website. The deadline for you to submit a project proposal is April 6th, but we encourage you to start early and talk with us about your idea first.

We’re also seeking experienced MediaWiki developers anywhere in the world to help select and mentor student projects. We’ll take you even if you live in the southern hemisphere and it’s not summer for you. :-) You’ll need to be available online consistently so you can respond to student questions between now and late August. As Brion Vibber put it, if you “are knowledgeable about MediaWiki — not necessarily knowing every piece of it, but knowing where to look so you can help the students help themselves” then please consider helping out.

I’m administering our participation in GSoC. So I am encouraging students to apply, getting project ideas, and managing the application process overall. I look forward to seeing students discover the joy of collaborative work that improves the Wikimedia experience for millions of users. Help us spread the word.

Sumana Harihareswara
Volunteer Development Coordinator, Wikimedia Foundation
MediaWiki Coordinator, GSoC 2012

Update on Translation Toolkit

Earlier today the folks over at Google provided an update on their progress using Translation Toolkit with volunteers and translators to improve the article count in smaller language versions of Wikipedia, including Arabic, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Swahili, Tamil and Telugu.  Google is a passionate believer in the need to translate and bring more high quality works of text to less-represented languages on the web.

Michael Galvez, a Product Manager from Google, presented the recent findings of these efforts at this year’s Wikimania in Gdańsk – which wrapped up on Sunday, July 11 of this year.

From Michael’s post:

We believe that translation is key to our mission of making information useful to everyone. For example, Wikipedia is a phenomenal source of knowledge, especially for speakers of common languages such as English, German and French where there are hundreds of thousands—or millions—of articles available. For many smaller languages, however, Wikipedia doesn’t yet have anywhere near the same amount of content available.

Google is reporting an increase of about 16 million words so far due to the efforts of local volunteers and translators using the Translation Toolkit.  In Hindi Wikipedia these efforts have resulted in an increase in size of about 20 per cent. They continue their work directly with volunteers from these language projects, and continue to expand the capabilities of the translation toolkit in new languages.

A big thanks for the ongoing efforts of the volunteers and translators, and to Google for continuing to invest time and resources in this great translation system.

Jay Walsh, Communications

Google’s Grant is good news for Wikimedia!

Earlier today we announced a generous $2 million (USD) grant to the Wikimedia Foundation from the Google Inc. Charity Fund at the Tides Foundation.  This is the first gift to the Wikimedia Foundation from Google, and as an unrestricted gift we’ll be able to support operations for Wikipedia and our other free knowledge projects across multiple priorities.

The news has rung out across outlets in the U.S. and abroad, and microbloggers (prompted by a tweet from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales) have been actively sharing the announcement.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has called Wikipedia “one of the greatest triumphs of the internet,” and considering the impact and mission of Google, we’re in good company.  Many have speculated as to the relationship between our organizations before, but with this news we’re pleased to clarify their great role as a philanthropic supporter for the Foundation.

Thanks to the good folks at Google for making this possible!

Jay Walsh, Communications

Google experiments with new ways to search Wikipedia

The good folks at Google Custom Search, in cooperation with experienced Wikipedian Mathias Schindler, have developed a “Google Custom Search skin” for Wikipedia that can be activated by following these instructions. In addition to using Google to search for Wikipedia articles, it makes it possible to search linked Wikipedia articles, as well as the content of linked external websites, using a simple tabbed interface. See the post at the Google Blog for more information.

This is a community initiative, not an official new feature developed by the Wikimedia Foundation, so we make no guarantees of any kind for its operation. It does show how much bottom-up innovation is possible thanks to Wikimedia’s open APIs and scripting interfaces. We’re very happy that Google has built this alternative new way to search Wikipedia. Please provide feedback below, or to the Google Custom Search team here.

Erik Moeller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Google Translator Toolkit Supports Wikipedia

Today Google is announcing the release of Google Translator Toolkit, a new application that extends their well known translation tool, Google Translate.  The Tool kit may change the way Wikipedia grows in other languages (from Google’s announcement today):

At Google, we consider translation a key part of making information universally accessible to everyone around the world. While we think Google Translate, our automatic translation system, is pretty neat, sometimes machine translation could use a human touch. Yesterday, we launched Google Translator Toolkit, a powerful but easy-to-use editor that enables translators to bring that human touch to machine translation.

Google Translator Toolkit allows users to help the system learn adaptively – and it has built-in functionality that will allow rapid translation of pages from Wikipedia.  Readers can correct mistakes, add context, and generally improve the translator’s ability to provide stronger first drafts of translations. This is a tremendous step towards free culture and the expansion of free knowledge on behalf of Google.

Volunteers at Effat University in Saudi Arabia have been working with Google to translate over 100,000 words into from the English Wikipedia into Arabic to help build the Toolkit and pave the way for further translations of Wikipedia content, a strong showcase for the Toolkit (more from Google):

These articles were among most widely searched articles throughout the Middle East, and they were either previously unavailable in Arabic or they were short relative to the English article. We are now reviewing and posting these top articles back to Wikipedia, in order help to make Wikipedia even more useful in Arabic. As Saudi Arabia’s HRH Princess Lolowah Al-Faisal said, Effat worked with Google “to solve the problem of making a huge amount of online information available to Arabic speakers, all over the world.”

You can try out the toolkit here.  Google has also posted a video to provide a quick tutorial. We look forward to seeing even more active translation within Wikipedia and beyond over the coming months.

Jay Walsh, Head of Communications

We cover the planet

W's from Google mapsWikipedia fans and Google maps users may have heard recently that Google has unveiled a handsome new feature for its ubiquitous mapping system.

Alongside the familiar ‘satellite’ and ‘terrain’ viewing options for maps, you can know click on ‘more’ then click the Wikipedia check box. In a flash the big serif W you know and love blankets mother earth, offering thousands of links to articles with geographic coordinates.

A great feature, and another novel way to explore the depths of Wikipedia’s millions and millions of articles.

Jay Walsh, Head of Communications