NOOKcolor and Dictionary.com: An Innovative Partnership

NOOKcolor and Dictionary.com: An Innovative Partnership

If you’re like me, you’ve probably turned to Dictionary.com thousands of times. Maybe you wanted to make sure you had your spelling right, or you weren’t sure how to pronounce something correctly. Or maybe you were worried you used the word “insouciant” incorrectly. No matter what, you’re heading to Dictionary.com.

And despite the name, Dictionary.com offers more than just definitions. There’s pronunciation help, sample sentences to provide context, even word history and famous quotes! It has moved beyond just “hey, what does this word mean?” and turned into a full-fledged resource for all things linguistic.

I had the privilege to speak with Shravan Goli, the President of Dictionary.com. He outlined a few of the ways Dictionary.com and B&N have partnered, and it goes far deeper than just providing the dictionary for NOOKcolor.

First, there’s the basic integration. All the native apps on NOOKcolor will be able to tap into the dictionary, plus Dictionary.com is porting over some of their own apps, like Miss Spells Class. If you haven’t checked out “Miss Spells Class” it’s really fun. Basically it is similar to math drill games. You get a list of words, and you determine if they are spelled correctly or incorrectly. It’s very addictive, plus I can see it really being useful on the go as an education tool!

Second, Dictionary.com has an API available to third-party developers. While a dictionary is handy in many education themed apps, the bigger story here is the power Dictionary.com can bring to a partnership. According to Shravan, Dictionary.com has an online user base of 50 million, with mobile users of 18 million. It’s impossible to find anyone who doesn’t use the site regularly. In fact, when I mentioned to Sarah that I was doing this interview, her whole face lit up and she went on and on about how much she loves the site. It’s a huge leg up for any developer to integrate with them and gain access to that kind of loyalty.

Plus, they make it very easy for both free and commercial apps. As they describe it on their site:
There are three ways to use our API:

Free
Dictionary.com’s core API is free as long as it is for non-commercial use. Visit the Product page for a complete content list.
Let’s Make Money Together
If your app is commercial use (either monetized via ads or a paid fee) great! Please contact us directly at api@dictionary.com so we can approve use and develop business terms on a case-by-case basis.
We also offer a version of our API with ad tags if you would like to monetize your app through advertising served by Dictionary.com. Email us at api@dictionary.com if you are interested.
Paid Content
We offer enhanced content for a fee, just contact us at api@dictionary.com if you are interested in the data sets listed on the Product page.

In a nutshell, any education or reading themed app is going to benefit mightily from partnering with Dictionary.com. And that’s where they’re really going to be a power couple with B&N. Combine something like NOOKkids with NOOKcolor. Now throw in a series of flashcard apps powered by Dictionary.com. Suddenly you have an education tool that can work for everything from basic spelling all the way up to the SATs! Everything from assigned reading to practice drills, all on one device, all with access to reference materials.

I’ll be honest. When I first received information about Dictionary.com and NOOKcolor, I thought it was nothing too exciting. After talking to Shraven I was completely blown away with the possibilities. NOOKcolor is just the beginning for them, with more partners coming soon. If you have a mobile app and want to integrate Dictionary.com, head over to their developer site ASAP. And the next time you type Dictionary.com into your browser to check a word, think about all the other things such a simple service has to offer!


About the Author

Carly Z
Carly has been a gadget fiend for a long time, going back to her first PDA (a Palm M100). She quickly went from researching what PDA to buy to following tech news closely and keeping up with the latest and greatest stuff. She loves writing about ebooks because they combine her two favorite activities; reading anything and everything, and talking about fun new tech toys. What could be better?