Since no important website can live without a mobile app these days, Wikimedia Foundation just released their app for Wikipedia.org. Simple and clean, it offers a few extra options in addition to the mobile version of the website. So if you are looking for quick access to your favorite encyclopedia you might give this app a try. If not, you can always place a bookmark of Wikipedia.org on your home screen.
So why would anyone install an app when there is a mobile version of Wikipedia.org available? Here are the new advantages brought by the app:
- The history is a list of all the articles you have read. Sure, browsers also have history, but this is a Wikipedia only list.
- You can save pages and read them later, when you are offline or do not have internet access.
- You can search for articles about objects nearby. This will open up a map with your current location and markers. You can also scroll someplace else and redo the search there, so it is not limited to just your current whereabouts.
- You can easily switch between different languages for the article you are reading.
The settings menu is not quite user-friendly. Changing the language or font size only happens when you tap the drop down button and there are no visual effects on press to help you out either. And after the language is changed, the app immediately switches back to the article you were reading which is also wrong.
We did find another problem which is the GPS access. Once you select the Nearby option in the menu, the GPS icon pops up and never turns off! Exiting the app doesn’t help either. The only solution we found was to kill the process. This is quite unpleasant and should be fixed as soon as possible.