Google Blogoscoped


Google breaking another contract

Hanan Cohen [PersonRank 7]

Friday, April 1, 2005
15 years ago

I saw a word in Doc Searls's weblog that I haven't recognized – "Whuffie".

I Googled the word expecting to find a link to a definition in The [definition] link was missing. I went to and found the definition to the word there.

So, I contacted support and complained.

I got an interesting reply "As you have discovered, Hanan, Google doesn't include a link for every topic. Frankly, we wouldn't mind if they did, but for some reason, the 'definitions' link is more-or-less limited to Dictionary definitions for now. You are more than welcome to write to Google about this. Here's a link to their Contact Us page:

I guess this means that next time you need a definition, you should start with This gives you the best of both worlds: all of plus Web links from Google."

I thought that Google has become an interface to but I discovered that I was wrong. Google broke a "contract" between me and them because they don't show links to definitions that can be found in I don't trust Google on this feature anymore.

Doing what support suggested, looking in first, would result in an effort by me for crossing a mental distance between Google and I am not ready to take this effort yet. Google is very aware of this effort so they let themselves break unwritten "contracts" between them and their users. One day, too many "contracts" will be broken and people will begin moving.

In the meantime, I suggest that develop a Firefox addin that searches the site for a highlighted word. I would have installed it in a minute.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

I suppose they're just using a specific dictionary to check if the word is common. While Whuffie may appear in Wikipedia (that's where gets their content from for this term) it's not in any "real" dictionary at the moment – you know, the kind you'd accept for Scrabble.

As for any unwritten contract, nah, I don't think there's one here.

Then again... is this your April Fool's? :)

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

According to the Google Blog, Google have just updated their "Google Definitions" feature.

So, if you now type "define whuffie" into the Google search box, the first result will be a "Web definition for Whuffie". Alternatively, typing "define:whuffie" (with a colon) will result in definitions being returned from "all corners of the Web"...

From: ...

Jason [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

So why not use A9, with the Wikipedia add-on. Lately I've been trying to create a harmony of firefox extensions and standalone software. I'm getting closer to the ideal, and I'm giving A9 another shot.

Brian [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Just like Google doesn't automatically display images for every query, it is not safe to provide a definition for every query – especially if that word is not in the dictionary.

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

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