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October 3, 2008

No More Definition Links in Google Search?

One of the easiest ways to find definitions for words and idioms was to do a Google search and then click on the words from Google's blue bar. Google linked to dictionary.com until 2005, when it switched to the more comprehensive answers.com. Unfortunately, the feature is no longer available and users will have to find other ways to get definitions.


Here are some other ways to find definitions using Google:

1. search for [define word] and you'll get a short definition for your word, most likely from WordNet. To get other definitions from different glossaries and dictionaries, click on "web definitions for...". Example: define cup.


2. a shortcut for finding a list of definitions from the web is to use the define: operator. Just search for define:cup and you'll get a lot of definitions from a variety of source, but not all of them are authoritative.

3. subscribe to the Merriam-Webster OneBox to add a special search result with definitions.


According to Search Engine Land, Answers.com got 20-25% of its traffic from the Google definition links in 2007 and there wasn't any paid deal between Google and Answers.com. The only other important search engine that shows definition links is Yahoo, but it doesn't use a third-party service.

{ via Google Blogoscoped }

Update: The feature is back. Maybe it was just a technical glitch.

16 comments:

  1. What? Why? That was so handy.

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  2. Great tips. On a different note, does anyone have rumors of what updates are coming to Google Docs? I am a big time user of it and am curious as to how advanced the editing will become. Thanks and enjoy the weekend.

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  3. Aww this sucks. I was wondering why the words don't turn blue anymore :(

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  4. I have always had problems with Google Definitions results. The way they show the definitions are often useless because you have to click that search link to go to the definition page to read complete definitions. I am always happy with Ask.com layout. They show full definition on the right sidebar. Very handy because it has the complete definition.

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  5. Nooo! I loved that feature. It was invaluable.

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  6. I liked the feature. What made them to remove the feature?

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  7. Hey is it just me or the feature is back? :D Few hours ago it's still gone, but now it's back for me...

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  8. I have seen it disappear several times as well in the last few weeks. I also noticed that it was "using personal history" when that happened.

    Perhaps Google is testing the removal of this feature. IMHO, this is one of the worst decisions they could make. I depend on the definitions a lot.

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  9. Yahoo! Search uses definitions from the American Heritage Dictionary, with which it has a tie-up for the Yahoo! Reference service.

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  10. If you got Firefox you can get the "Google Define" search engine plugin from the Mycroft Project http://mycroft.mozdev.org/search-engines.html?name=google+define which also got a multitude of other search engine plugins.

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  11. I use this feature all the time. In my opinion Answers.com is the best reference site on the web. You got a multiple resource at the same page and you can choose which one of them to use.

    It is a good thing that it is still exists.

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  12. The blue word links are still working for me.

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  13. why google has done yet, that was such a handy feature. Now a days all companies are adding additional features into their old application. In such Era, Google shouldn't have done that. :(

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  14. just go

    define: word

    it will work.

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  15. Why was it removed? Was there a falling out?

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