Wikipedia announces Nearby feature

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Wikipedia Nearby begins testing

Wikipedia has unveiled a new feature, the Wikipedia Nearby page - designed to provide users with details on interesting landmarks in the near vicinity.

In an official blog post, Wikipedia announced that the Wikimedia Foundation mobile team had been working on the project for some time, with the service now ready for beta testing from outside users. Using the location data provided by the users mobile device or computer, the page will display results in geographical order, starting with the closest.

For example, searching in central London would return the pages for such landmarks as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace or Trafalgar Square, with the feature fully operational for places across the world. From discovering more on the Louvre in Paris to Westfalenstadion in Dortmund, Wikipedia hopes that the service will become the ideal way for people to learn more about their environment and the interesting places around them.

Expanding the environment

The official announcement from Wikipedia states:

"We are quick to use mobile applications to find places that fulfil our needs... But how hard have you thought about the history of your neighbourhood, or the events that have shaped the place where you live?"

It goes on to encourage users to think more about the many interesting places around them, including the "historic sites, parks, museums, theatres, cafes and religious buildings." All locations of this nature will be included on Wikipedia Nearby, with users actively encouraged to add information and images about locations which may not be currently listed on Wikipedia.

This is the latest effort from the organisation to provide users with more information on what is going on around them, with the top Wikipedia searches of the year released at the end of 2012 helping to provide more details on how the world searched.

Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword commented: "Wikipedia is always looking for new ways to help people search for and discover new information, and this tool has the potential to be extremely helpful once the bugs have been ironed out in beta testing. Services such as Foursquare and Facebook Places have been well used in the past, showing that there is a demand for mobile information on the places around us."