Here’s something fun to watch: WikipediaVision. This is a visualization of Wikipedia edits happening in real-time. It gives you a real sense of what a global enterprise this is, and how varied the topics can be. In a few minutes, I watched as people edited sports, music and TV trivia, scientific articles, revised the Betsy Ross entry, and much more. (Be aware that while Wikipedia screens content, it does allow explicit language when necessary and some yucky medical terminology. Surprises may pop up.)
It tracks the anonymous edits to the English language version of Wikipedia and flags them on a world map. Why and how? See the FAQs.
The reson this is possible is because of “open APIs”. An API is the way computer programs talk to each other. When companies like Google and Wikipedia release the secrets of how to connect to these programs, people like László Kozma, a grad-student at the Helsinki University of Technology can put together interesting new interfaces like WikipediaVision. Wiki cool.