Wikipedia users will soon notice more videos appearing on the site’s pages, but what they may not automatically realize is that the technology that enables this comes from Israel.

Kaltura, based in Ramat Gan, has made its HTML5 open source video platform available to Wikipedia since 2008.

Last week, Wikipedia announced that it is enabling the player on hundreds of millions of entries, thanks to an extension called TimedMedia Handler.

Ron Yekutiel, CEO, chairman and co-founder of Kaltura, told The Jerusalem Post Thursday that although Wikipedia has about 500 million unique pages and boasts 19 billion page views every month, until now it only supported around 15,000 videos.

He said there were a number of reasons that it took so long for Wikipedia to take this step: its collaborative nature, which required everything to be edited by a crowd, “and in video you can’t really do that”; its open-source commitment, which meant it held on to old technology that was not supportive of high-quality devices; and the historically high costs of running video.

Kaltura’s HTML5 platform supports all browsers, includes support for closed captions and time text, support for webM video format, and contains additional features such as quick-sharing, which were missing in previous players used by Wikipedia.

Yekutiel, a former Israel Air Force helicopter pilot and serial entrepreneur, founded Kaltura with Dr. Shay David, Dr. Michael Tsur and Eran Etam in 2006.

Thanks partly to backing from Intel Capital and several other venture capital investors, the firm has 100 employees in its Ramat Gan office and provides its platform to over 150,000 Web publishers, media companies, enterprises and educational services.

Thanks to its adoption of Kaltura’s technology, Wikipedia will soon become second only to YouTube as a host of online videos, Yekutiel predicted.

“You know that old saying that every photo is worth a thousand words? If there are 30 frames a second in a video, that means there are 30,000 words for every second,” he said.

“This is the best way to democratize content – by enabling video so the people can communicate vast amount of information really quickly. Our technology is a combination of better, cheaper, more engaging and more collaborative, and as such it will change the way Wikipedia works.”

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