First Youtube; Wikipedia’s Next

The other day, I found a need to measure the distance between Japan and California, as part of a story I’m writing. For this purpose, I employed Google Earth (which is, in my opinion, one of the most impressive pieces of software that Google has ever produced). After I’d gotten the measurement, I amused myself for a few minutes scrolling around, having a look at tiny Arctic islands and such, when I began to notice a smattering of little Wikipedia icons all over the map. I clicked on one of them, and was taken to a Wikipedia article about that particular island. This inspired in me a dreadful concern for the future of Wikipedia. Will the beloved “peoples’ encyclopedia” soon succumb to the same fate as Youtube?

Regular readers will recall that my dire predictions of the fate of Youtube’s free content after Google acquired the site largely came true. Now, with Google cuddling up to Wikipedia as well, does the same thing lie in Wikipedia’s future? Now, I’ve got nothing against Google as an idea, Google as an entity, but Google is a corporation, and is thus bound by the corporate constraints of intellectual property and copyrights. Should my paranoias be borne out, what will become of Wikipedia’s open and free content? That’s always been a fear of mine on some level, that Wikipedia could be corrupted by some corporation, and reduced to nothing more than a standard e-Encyclopedia.

As usual, just more food for thought…and I really hope this particular concern proves to be unfounded…

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