Whenever I want to know a quick fact about something or someone, I go right to Wikipedia. Of course, I am educated and I know that there can be mistakes in what has been entered since there is public access. So if it's an important topic, I do fact checking from other sources. Still it gives a good basis for information gathering.
Yes, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. The only thing that differentiates it from for example Encyclopedia Brittanica is that it is not professionally published. However, one might argue that crowdsourced vetting is just as effective as the professional information vetting process and it is certainly a more comprehensive body of knowledge.