The Wikimedia Foundation is rolling out a new version of its Wikipedia mobile application beginning this afternoon, which offers an improved reading experience, better search and an image-centric design, the company says. The updated app will be released on Android first, with an iOS release scheduled to follow.
Overall, the new look and functionality improvements are focused on making the Wikipedia site, which now hosts over 33.5 million articles in 287 languages, more usable on mobile devices.
In the new release, a prominent, contextually relevant image is being added to the top of each article — something that’s designed to engage readers with the topic, the organization says. In addition, the search experience now features a more defined, higher-contrast search bar alongside a list of recently searched topics.
Viewing images on Wikipedia’s app has been improved, too, as there’s now a pop-up panel that you can launch with a tap, then swipe left or right to scroll through the article’s various photos.
And a “Read More” feature now appears at the end of each article, linking up to three related pages meant to keep users in the application, exploring the topic further.
These features were already made available on Android before today’s “official” launch in the form of a separate Wikipedia “beta” app on Google Play. This app, which allowed users to test out the new features ahead of the full market release, also included support for other, newer upgrades like the ability to edit articles from your smartphone, plus support for Wikipedia Zero (a service where select mobile operators waive data charges) and other features that launched first on iOS back in July. (The organization’s app releases are staggered, with either iOS or Android always being slightly ahead of one another.)
The new features began rolling out to Android users around 10 a.m. PT and should be live in all markets by now — or will be soon, if you’re not yet seeing them on your device.
The Wikipedia app is here on Google Play.