These free apps offer fantastic ways to browse Wikipedia and find interesting articles to read on the world’s largest publicly editable encyclopedia.
Wikipedia is one of the largest free resources on the Internet, with nearly 6.5 million articles in the English version alone. But too often, we only use the website to search for something, rather than just browsing it to learn about new things. These apps try to give you ways to browse Wikipedia and discover articles in new ways.
1. WikiStroll (Web): Browse Random Wikipedia Articles by Category
On Wikipedia’s left sidebar, you’ll find a simple button to direct you to a random article on the site. It’s a cool feature, but WikiStroll improves on it by making sure that random posts are something you’ll be interested in.
On WikiStroll, you can select from different categories before generating an article. These include people (writers, artists, scientists, sports personalities, politicians, religious figures), history, animals, biology, plants, places, and various other subjects (such as sports, science, philosophy, the arts).
These categories stay on the page all the time, so you can change them on the fly while generating new random posts. We particularly liked a cool section called Daily lifewhich takes you to random pages like milk, tavern, jacket and stuff like that.
Please note that WikiStroll does not offer any NSFW filters, so you can expect the same level of safe viewing as Wikipedia.
2. Whataday (Web): Find Important Events Around Any Date or Period
Wikipedia has a daily “On This Day” section to talk about important things that happened on a particular date. And you will find cool events and articles through it. But Whataday seeks to answer the question: “When this happened, what else happened around the same time/place?”
The website has scanned Wikipedia’s comprehensive article database to help you find events, times, and places near any article. The first step is to search for an article or phrase that interests you and choose from the results. Or you can use the site’s homepage, which contains a random list of interesting events and dates.
Click on any article and you will find two ways to find related wikis: Navigate nearby in time and Browse near location. Each shows a small snippet of the related article, mostly where it links to your original. It’s a fun way to dive down the rabbit hole to find weird and interesting Wikipedia articles.
3. Batou Explorer (Web): Visually explore related articles for any Wikipedia topic
Wikipedia is notoriously a rabbit hole where you click from link to link and keep finding interesting stuff. Batou Explorer tries to make it a visual experience by presenting a wheel of topics related to whatever interests you currently.
The main item is in the center, while the wheel is usually divided into six to eight pies with several related items. These are grouped according to certain parameters, which change depending on the main article. You will also see all of these related articles presented as a list on the right of the wheel, while the left carries the group topics.
Hovering your mouse over any item shows you a brief description of why that item is there. If you want to read the entire Wikipedia entry, press the spacebar to get a popup layer with the article.
Batou Explorer also has a Exploration trail on the left, which shows how you jumped from one topic to another to land on the current one. In other words, it keeps track of your trip down the rabbit hole.
4. Wikipedia Top 100 (Web): The 100 most popular Wikipedia articles every day
The Hatnote team is responsible for several interesting projects around Wikipedia, all available for free. One of its coolest mini-sites is Wikipedia Top 100, a daily updated list of the most visited articles on Wikipedia that day.
This snapshot of Wikipedia activity by users is a great way to find out what the world is reading. Each article shows how many times it’s been viewed and a sequence for how many days it’s been in the Top 100 (which may explain why it’s popular reading). Click on the article and you’ll probably see why it’s popular that day too, but even if it’s not, it’s a fun way to read something new.
You are also not limited to today’s date and can browse the entire Wikipedia Top 100 archive for each calendar day. Additionally, although the default version is English Wikipedia, the Top 100 Project is also available in several other languages.
If you like this project, you should also check out Hatnote’s other Wikipedia projects. We particularly like Weeklypedia, a weekly newsletter featuring the most edited articles of the week. It is one of the best tools to discover interesting articles on Wikipedia.
5. Wikimap Wiki (Web): Browse Geotagged Wikipedia Articles on a World Map
There are several Wikipedia articles with geotags, especially regarding places of interest or unique landmarks. Wikimap Wiki pulls it all together to give a single world map view for browsing Wikipedia articles.
You can choose between a blank atlas, a satellite map or no map at all. Geotagged items appear as red triangles on the map of varying sizes. Click near any triangle to see geotagged items appear as a small pop-up window on the map. You can also browse multiple articles in one area.
Wikimap Wiki also has a nifty search function, where you can search for any term, and all results will appear as yellow triangles. You can then browse through them or use the built-in random item feature to land on one. You can also perform multiple searches and pin them as layers on your map.
Don’t forget the Wikipedia homepage
Most of the time, we go to Wikipedia via web search to find out more about a topic. But when was the last time you visited Wikipedia’s homepage?
The Wikipedia homepage is updated daily to give some featured articles, featured images, current events and fun historical facts that day. This often overlooked section is a great place to find interesting things on Wikipedia, so check it out.
Wikipedia is full of useful information, but it’s also a lot of weird stuff you can read. Here is a list of Wikipedia quirks.
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