Posted: September 21 2009, 10:34am in Google

I sometimes use Google as a dictionary replacement, as I suspect a lot of people do. I search for the word on Google and then click on the "definition" link beside the word in the horizontal blue information bar. Google links to answers.com, which gives the definition:

Google's Answers.com Definition Link

What I don't understand is why Google hasn't licensed the content from the Oxford dictionary or some other dictionary and made their own dictionary function. Probably a better idea would be to license the content from multiple dictionaries to make sure they have all of the right definition variants, including those that are regionally specific.

Granted, Google does have the "define:keyword" operator that attempts to define words by scraping content from pages across the Web. But, anyone that has experimented with this function to any degree will tell you that it can be horridly inaccurate. I've often seen it pull definitions from adjacent words on pages, yielding a completely irrelevant definition.

It should be noted that, according to compete.com, Google is responsible for 61.19% of answers.com's traffic:

Answers.com Referrals

It's not clear how much of this comes from the definition links and how much comes from regular organic listings. Either way, that's a pretty significant share of the traffic.

Hey, Google... If I set up a dictionary site, will you link to me instead?!

Reader Comments

MichaelG wrote:
September 23 2009, 3:22am

Google can not do everything and should not do everything. When a company has too much power (e.g. MS) users start to look for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th options.

It is very good that Google partner's with other companies to support users. Like the ipod, Google has created a few new industries around the services it provides (e.g. the SEO industry) - this is why Google and the ipod works.

Just my take.

MG