Today we’re launching a project with the Open Video Alliance to promote video in Wikipedia articles. It’s called:
This is a concept that I had thinking about and trying to nudge towards reality for a long time; I’m thrilled that we’re finally there. There’s a bunch of interesting aspects, but perhaps the heart of it is a chance to bring open video to mainstream users and strike a blow for freedom.
Wikipedia is the most popular site in the world that posts video exclusively in open formats (specifically, theora). The steadfast commitment that the Wikimedia Foundation has to open information, tools, and formats, is amazing. They truly put their values first.
By encouraging more people to post videos in Wikipedia articles, we can bring theora video played in html5 to a very large audience. Currently, there are very few wikipedia articles that have videos (here’s one that does: Polar Bear). We hope that this campaign will bring thousands more to the site and show people how great theora can be. HTML 5 video, which plays without Flash, is a wonderful step towards a more open web– but if it depends on proprietary codecs like h.264, we will still be stuck with a gatekeeper for online video.
What else makes this a great campaign?
1. Having a video in a Wikipedia article can bring topics to life in a way that photos and text alone can’t do. It’s an incredibly engaging medium. Think about the difference between reading about a cheetah’s top speed and actually seeing it run.
2. We’ve worked hard with folks at Wikipedia to simplify the process of posting video to Wikipedia and we’ve got it down to 5 pretty simple steps. So now, for the first time in a truly human-usable form, here is: how to post a video to Wikipedia.
3. Shhhhh. If you look around that site, you’ll notice a reference to a new Miro product that is in a usable beta form but not quite ready for a full launch. Look for a launch announcement very soon.
4. If you watch a video on a Wikipedia article but you aren’t on a browser like Firefox or Chrome, it will play in a Java player (it’s pretty awkward) but it will also point you to Firefox, so that you can get a better browser. Another win for openness!
5. We’ve created a nice gallery of videos that are being submitted to Wikipedia in a Wikipedia Miro Community site so you can see what people are posting.