Is Google's Knowledge Graph affecting Wikipedia's page views?

Wikipedia, the free online encyclopaedia, lost nearly 10 percent of its page-view in 2013, reports Times of India.

Wikipedia, the free online encyclopaedia, lost nearly 10 percent of its page-view in 2013, reports Times of India.

According to numbers on the Wikimedia foundation website, page-views of English Wikipedia declined by 12 percent from December 2012 to December 2013. For instance in December 2012,  page views were at 9.70 billion while in December 2013 they were down to 8.53 billion. That's a decline of nearly 13 percent.

As far as Wikipedia is concerned on a whole, the numbers also showed a decline by nearly 2 billion page views. In December 2012, the page views for Wikipedia overall were 20.17 billion and by December 2013 it was at 18.32 billion, which is a decline of nearly 10 percent.

According to the report in TOI, the declining page views can probably be blamed on Google's Knowledge Graph, which appears as a box on the side. The report quotes, Clay Shirky, associate professor at New York University and fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for internet and Security as saying that, "If you can get your question answered from the search page, you don't need to click [any further]."

However Jay Walsh, adviser to Wikimedia Foundation, a California based non-profit that manages Wikipedia, told TOI that while page-views have indeed declined, the data "may contain significant anomalies."

Whatever the reason for the decline, there's no denying that Google's Knowledge Graph Search has made sure that people don't really have to click inside further to get the answer. Where celebrities, bigger corporations, etc are concerned, the Knowledge Graph has certainly changed things.

But then of course, the Knowledge Graph doesn't have a box for everything and everyone. When it comes to more technical terms like IPv6 or Flash Drives or more obscure search terms, it's hard to find a Google Knowledge Graph box that will neatly explain everything. In such cases, you might find yourself still going to Wikipedia.

Incidentally the report also notes that pages for Indian languages are also increasing. Hindi page-views increased by a huge 34 percent, Bengali by an even bigger 46 percent and Malayalam by 36 percent.

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