Robert_Charlton - 10:33 pm on Jul 27, 2010 (gmt 0)
Google is clearly experimenting with this.
I just did a search on "vicissitudes", which earlier had returned a definition, and this time it returned the definition in the suggestion window when I'd typed "vicissitude", without the final "s"... but when I added the "s" and clicked through, I was
a translate suggestion...
Translation for vicissitudes: French » English
What's interesting here, if you play around with it, is that you'll eventually bring up a translation form window enabling you to select languages, but they've selected the most likely language based on its roots for you.
The feature is triggered rarely (10% or words, maybe much more in terms of searches)
Not great for hard, unknown words....
It's likely to be way too early for conclusions.
Google is most likely beginning to test this definition feature on only the most common definition-type queries... and they're apparently playing around with other language features as well.
But it's clear that single word lookup for language and spelling has been identified by Google as a vertical. Hard to say how far they'll take it.
im not sure what google gets out of this new thing, because the definitions don't appear to have been taken from the 4 sites listed.
Google is trying to minimize server resources while maximizing usefulness of its site as a destination, and most probably trying to maintain some sort of a symbiosis with content providers so it doesn't put them out of business.
Most definitions I've checked for source (which you can do by searching a sentence in the definition in quotes) seem to come from encyclopedia.com, but I haven't checked this out carefully. Chances are there is a deal of some kind.