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Google Quietly Drops $2 Million into Wikipedia Coffers

wikipedia_logoFeeling a little guilty after ignoring Wikipedia’s donation drive all holiday season? You probably should, but consider your debt (and guilt) assuaged by the massive $2 million Google plunked into the Wikimedia Foundation piggy banks on Tuesday.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales broke the news in the most understated way possible: a simple tweet. Advisory board member Mitch Kapor confirmed it with his own tweet, and a formal announcement should be forthcoming sometime Wednesday.

The out-of-the-blue donation seems at odds with some of Google’s previous stances on Wikipedia. In 2007, it introduced Knol, a competitor to Wikipedia that never quite made it off the ground. Although pushing $2 million to a direct competitor would seem to represent a giant white flag, Knol is still alive and kicking.