It's taken four years, bit Wikipedia is finally ready for video submissions. Photo: AFP
Support for the HTML5 format could bring a new level of usability -- and editorial dispute -- to Wikipedia.
It's taken four years but the crowdsourced encyclopedia finally launched a new HTML5-based video player this week that will greatly simplify the act of adding videos to the site's millions and millions of so far text-based pages.
Contributors will now be able to upload and edit clips and add captions and subtitles, however, it is yet to be seen how the online encyclopedia's infamous community of editors will deal with this latest feature.
For years, Wikipedia has been criticized for its lack of video content save for a handful of clips encoded in the Ogg Theora format. But the reason it has been so slow to roll out the feature is because of the company's own commitment to only using open-source technology and to hosting all of its content in-house, rather than using other companies' data centers.
So Wikipedia has had to bide its time until it had sufficient server capacity to host the videos and until a new open source video format -- the HTML5 based WebM -- gained widespread support (most of the world's most popular web browsers support it as do a number of mobile browsers). To this end it has been working in partnership with Kaltura since 2008 to develop a video player and a set of collaborative editing tools.