Wikipedia today introduced a useful new feature designed to help save you from disappearing too far down internet rabbit holes.
Whenever you hover your cursor over a link within any article on the Wikipedia website, you’ll now see a full preview of what’s contained on the page behind the link. On the surface this may seem like a trivial upgrade, but Wikipedia is one of the web’s five most-visited websites, so this will essentially save millions of people having to click back and forth between pages, getting sucked into a browsing vortex completely at odds with their original search. In fact, Wikipedia’s parent organization, the Wikimedia Foundation, calls this update ” … one of the largest changes to desktop Wikipedia made in recent years,” according to a blog post.
Now, if you’re reading about a specific topic, and within that page a certain unfamiliar object, place, or person is mentioned, you just have to hover over the link to that subject to get a basic overview of what or who it is. If you do want to read more, of course you can click through.
This feature has been in A/B testing for a while, and first appeared in beta as far back as 2015. It was made available to all language versions on Wikipedia — other than English and German — last year. German received this update last week, and now it’s being added to the largest language on Wikipedia — English.
It’s worth noting here that other third-party Wikipedia clients have offered this feature for a while, including Wikiwand, which VentureBeat covered several years ago. Indeed, Wikiwand also offers page previews through its mobile app, so Wikipedia is still playing catchup even after this latest launch.