The Wikimedia Foundation is tentatively slated to launch Wikivoyage next week, on January 15, Skift has learned.
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales was on the Colbert Show last night talking about next big priorities for the organization, and he mentioned that Wikipedia’s travel effort, called Wikivoyage, is soon launching officially after being developed as a project for the last five to six months. The site has been live since late September but still as a project-in-development, not a fully-baked site.
From the show: “We have a travel site that’s opening up soon, we will see how it goes…called Wikivoyage.” Asked by Colbert if they would consider having a business model for the travel site, he flatly said, as he always has: “No.” Meaning no to any commercial considerations, or advertising, which is the same policy for the main Wikipedia site as well.
The Wikimedia Foundation, parent of Wikipedia, agreed to host and support the new global travel wiki, despite opposition, including a lawsuit against volunteers, from Internet Brands, which owns rival Wikitravel. Skift has covered all of this in gory detail in the past.
Since the early launch of the project in September, its vision has come along, and now spells out more clearly what its goals and “non-goals” are. These are helpful as guideposts to the already-hammered travel guidebook publishers and startups looking at this new giant free project as a threat to their existence. Some of these goals and non-goals are a bit odd as worded, but that’s possibly due to something lost in translation in this global, still-in-the-works project.
From the list, the goals:
Wikivoyage articles should be useful for at least the following purposes:
- For on-line use by travellers on the road, huddled in a late-night Internet café in some dark jungle, who need up-to-the-minute information on lodging, transportation, food, nightlife, and other necessities;
- For off-line use by travellers on the road sitting in a train with a subset of Wikivoyage on their PDA, laptop, mobile phone, iPod or digital camera.
- For on-line use by travellers still planning to review destinations, plan itineraries, make reservations, and get excited about their trip;
- For individual article printouts, that is, for printing a list of museums or karaoke bars and putting it in your back pocket for when you need it – or making a photocopy when someone else does;
- For ad-hoc travel guides, small fit-to-purpose travel books that match a particular itinerary;
- For inclusion in other travel books, giving up-to-date information for travel guide publishers.
As for what not to expect, the list is a bit stranger. Read for yourself and decipher (excerpts, full list here):
These are some specific non-goals; things people might think we want to do with Wikivoyage, but we don’t: