Google Docs To Get More Reference Sources

    July 2, 2007

Piece o’ news number one: Google intends to make Encyclopedia Britannica, as well as Merriam-Webster’s dictionary and thesaurus, available in Google Docs.  Piece o’ news number two: if you don’t feel like waiting on the Mountain View-based company, you can access those same resources right now.

And no, I’m not being a smartass and suggesting that you cut Google out of the picture (after all, Britannica and Merriam-Webster have their own sites).  Instead, Tony Ruscoe writes, “I’ve found a way you can enable the dictionary and thesaurus features now – even before they’re released!”

Should you follow Ruscoe’s instructions, don’t expect everything to work perfectly.  “It’s obvious why this hasn’t been released yet,” according to the Google Blogoscoped guru, who cites a number of bugs and strange problems.

Aside from programming issues, there’s also the matter of Google’s taste in partners.  After all, Britannica isn’t exactly a go-to resource for a lot of people, and Ionut Alex Chitu, who seems to have first found the hidden features, notes, “It’s rather curious that Google didn’t opt for everyone’s favorite encyclopedia, Wikipedia, and choose the oldest English-language encyclopedia still in print, but also an encyclopedia hard to access online for free.”

Yet Google Docs could bring in Wikipedia at some point in the future, even as the search engine giant will presumably address the minor problems Ruscoe discovered.