Google has closed yet another property, this time, the Google Dictionary is the latest service to get the proverbial ax. The dictionary service is just another in a long line of abandoned Google properties, which include their web directory, Google Labs, and Google Wave, just to name a few.
Before the "Google is burning to the ground" reactions start appearing, it should be noted that Google is doing just fine on the financial end. The shuttling of these properties are little more than housekeeping and the removal of extraneous materials that people may or may not miss. Nevertheless, when Google discontinues something, even something as innocuous as a dedicated dictionary, it's newsworthy.
That being said, it's not the end of the world, although some are disappointed. Furthermore, Google is very a "trial and error" company, and if something doesn't work the way they envisioned, and/or it's not being used by the masses, the company has no problem scuttling what it considers dead weight. As pointed out by Barry Schwartz, a Google employee ventured to the Google Web Search Help forum to explain Google's decision.
Simply put, they didn't need a standalone dictionary any longer, at least from their perspective:
As many of you know, we've recently introduced a dictionary tool into Google Web Search to help you quickly look up the definition of a word,. Because the dictionary tool offers the same functionality as Google Dictionary, we've decided to discontinue dictionary.google.com.
For your definition needs, you can type your query right into the search box and use the dictionary tool located in the left-hand panel on the results page, or you can type [define (your word)] right into the search box.
As Kelly F indicated, the "define:_____" query works just fine. As an example of this, Google's source for definitions--in this case, a Princeton database--defines the term "consolidation" as, "combining into a solid mass."
Considering the revenue Google generates, their chosen definition seems fitting.
As for the reaction to the closing of the Google Dictionary, that's precisely what led Kelly F to issue her response. There's only so much of this you can take without setting the record straight:
OMG! How can google do this without any warning. I'm not a native user. So, I use Google dictionary all the time. It's the best dictionary out there. I've starred a lot of words too. Now I don't see a way to get them back. Please google make Google Dictionary available again!!! Definitely a bad move by Google.
Because, apparently, the sources Google gets/got their definitions from are gone as well? Is typing "Dictionary" into a Google search bar really that difficult?
So long, Google Dictionary. We barely knew thee.