Search giant Google is donating $2 million to free online encyclopaedia Wikipedia.

The donation was made to the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organisation under which Wikipedia operates.

According to Wikimedia, the funds will support “core operational costs” for the organisation, including investments in technical infrastructure to support the website’s growing traffic and capacity demands.

The funds will also enable the foundation to make Wikipedia easier to use and more accessible.

Although it is the first donation Google has made to Wikimedia, the two organisations have had a long-standing work relationship.

Most recently, Google partnered with the foundation to support translation of Wikipedia content. Google’s Translation Toolkit supports direct online translation of the articles.

Google's donation matches that of Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar’s, who donated to Wikimedia through one of his investment organisations six months ago.

Wikipedia, which is written and edited by around 100,000 unpaid contributors, launched seven years ago.

It is supported mainly by donations from individuals, and the operation of the website is the second-biggest expense for the Wikimedia Foundation.

The Wikimedia Foundation completed its 2009-2010 fundraising round in January. During the period, 240,000 individual donated more than $8 million, representing three quarters of its planned revenue for the fiscal year ending in June.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin described Wikipedia as “one of the greatest triumphs of the internet.”

There was speculation that Wikipedia was on its last legs last year after nearly 50,000 editors left the website in the first quarter of 2009.