MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA-
Internet search giant Google (GOOG) announced today that they are soon to release their own printed dictionary. The new Google Dictionary will be an uncharacteristically low-tech endeavor for the company, but will benefit from Google’s expertise in data-sorting and analysis techniques.
“What we’re doing is taking a proven source of information and marrying it to the technical innovation that has made Google the market leader in data search and organization,” says Google product lead Stephen Finn.
The Google Dictionary will be a re-sorted edition of Websters’ venerable Collegiate Edition. Google will use its PageRank algorithm to list words in order of popularity, rather than the more traditional alphabetical method.
“The problem with the old-style dictionary is that you have no idea whether the word you’re looking for is even still in the common parlance,” says Finn. “Using our method, words like “the” and “bling” will be towards the front, while words like “anamnesis” will occur much further into the dictionary, where they won’t bother anyone. Ideally, flipping through just the first few pages of the dictionary will be all that is required for the average user.”
Despite the new sort algorithms, the positions of some words will remain relatively unchanged. “Zyzzgeton”, for example, will remain at the back of the book, just as most users are accustomed to – except in the Entomologist’s Edition of the dictionary, where it is included near the middle of the book, just above “girlfriend”.
This new publication is another prong of Google’s “offline search” initiative, which focuses on employing connected technology to the ever-smaller portion of the unconnected world. Earlier this year, Google purchased huge portions of real estate that once housed libraries around the United States. Re-naming these structures “info-ports”, Google has been marketing library materials as “offline search archives”, where a user can “browse” through hard copies of great works of literature with the help of an “offline search assistant” (formerly known as a librarian).