Google Shutdown its Dictionary Service

By Xah Lee. Date:

2011-08-05. Google shutdown [ Google Dictionary ] [ ] today. For example, try this Chinese-to-English query that used to work:|en&q=乔

You get:

google dictionary dead screenshot
Google dictionary site as of 2011-08-05

Am completely pissed. Just when i spent several hours in past days researching a proper online dictionary service and have chosen it, and wrote emacs lisp scripts that generate google dict links for annotating Chinese characters using its service. (See: Emacs Lisp: Chinese Character Reference Linkify.)

Now i have to spend a hour or two to remove all the dead links. Redo my research to find a alternative.

Firefox add-ons for Google Dictionary is also broken as a result. (But Google's own Chrome extension still works partially. (it gives a first definition, but the “more” button goes to a dead page.) )

No reason is given by Google. The suggested alternative, is to do google search with the search term starting by “define ”. But that's not acceptable, because you get a page of unpredictable results filled with irrelevant pages. And is problematic if the word is a Chinese char for Chinese-English or Chinese-Chinese, both of which were supported.

For example, if you google search “define 跃”, it gives a one sentence usage example: «跳: “一跃而起 | 龙腾虎跃。”. More», but that's not sufficient if you are study Chinese (or English) as a academic. When you click on “More”, you get “Your search - 跃, 躍 - did not match any documents. Reset search tools”.

google dictionary screenshot
Google Dictionary screenshot ~2011-04. img src

I haven't had time to find a proper alternative, but in the mean time, try this page Online English Dictionary Tools for a selection of dictionaries and the browser add-on search pages.