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Google’s Alphabet Built An Urban Dictionary For Tech Speak

Google’s Alphabet Built An Urban Dictionary For Tech Speak
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The program is made to simplify technical terms by turning them into analogies

Mario Valdivieso
  • 20 march 2017

Technology is everywhere these days and with its overwhelming presence in our world, it helps to understand as much as we can about it. However, this can be difficult given the language of technology is quite complex. Even those who are tech-savvy can find it difficult to explain technological terminology in a way that makes sense to the general public. In light of this, the Google company Jigsaw, in collaboration with The Washington Post, created Sideways Dictionary, a website designed to simplify the definitions of those technical terms.

Instead of giving standard definitions, Sideways Dictionary breaks down the meaning of these terms by turning them into analogies and metaphors the user can easily associate with. For example, one of their definitions for bandwidth compares the term to a road followed by the analogy, “at rush hour, traffic slows down for everybody.” Initially many of the definitions were written by design writer Nick Asbury, however, the site is now opening up the floor for users to start writing their own analogies as to gain a wider variety for readers to choose from. Of course, The Washington Post will monitor user definitions for inaccuracies but readers will get to ultimately decide which submissions they find the most helpful.

Jigsaw’s head of marketing, Alfred Malmros, came up with the idea as a way to help people understand cyber threats and digital attacks. “It’s about communicating safety as simply as possible to people”, said Malmros who found analogies to be the best way to accomplish that goal. What The Post, Malmros and the Jigsaw team have put together is a creative and relevant platform for people to seek complicated yet essential information.

Sideways Dictionary

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+The Washington Post
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