How did it happen? As internet usage shifts from a desktop-centric environment to a more mobile-centric one, there’s a migration to smaller screens. Various industries and factors have made that happen, and several things have been done at the Wikimedia Foundation to move with the change. We can’t do justice to all the individual work by attempting to list it here, but amongst the many changes and contributions, a few highlights include the launch of the new mobile site last October, better device detection, and the official Android app announced in January.
Also notable about the 2 billion mark is the way use has evolved globally. A year ago, 67% of all visits to the Wikipedia mobile site were to the English Wikipedia; now that number is 54%. In the Global South in particular, traffic to the mobile sites for certain languages has grown tremendously. Some examples include Portuguese (from 3.9M to 27.4M), Arabic (from 1.7M to 10.2M), and Turkish (from 1.0M to 9.0M). As our partnership programs roll out to allow hundreds of millions to access Wikipedia on their mobile devices without incurring data charges, we expect mobile use to be even more globally distributed over the coming year.
The work on mobile, from both the tech and global development side, is not slowing down in the least however. There’s a lot more to come, but it’s worth taking a moment to recognize the mark we’ve reached, and to thank every community and staff member who played a part.
On behalf of the Mobile Team (Tomasz Finc, Patrick Reilly, Arthur Richards, Jon Robson, André Engels, Kul Wadhwa, Mani Pande, Amit Kapoor, Yuvaraj Pandian, Max Semenik, Phil Chang, Dan Foy):
Amit Kapoor, Senior Manager, Mobile Partnerships