Look out Merriam-Webster, there’s a new competitor in town: Google. A new image-based dictionary bearing Google’s name is a bit different and operates on the idea that a picture is worth a thousand words, replacing every definition with the first image that showed up in a Google Images search for that name.
Actually, Google didn’t produce this alphabetical image dictionary. Two artists from London, Ben West and Felix Heyes, are the actual brains behind the 1,240 page book containing 21,000 visual definitions.
How is such a book delivered?
“We used two PHP scripts my brother Sam wrote for us,” Ben West told CreativeApplications.Net. “The first one takes a text list of dictionary words and downloads each image in sequence, and the second lays them out into columns and outputs a PDF.”
The PDF was then printed into a beautiful book – handbound, thumb indexed pages held together in a marbled paper hardcover, the golden Google logo clearly indifferent to whatever Internet horrors it may contain.
There is also the why of it all. Why did they decide to make such a reference book, aside from the possibility that the Internet might go off?
Ben links their decision to society and how we think and process things. He addresses the true fact that we have short attention span. He also noted the influence of media fatigue and how we no longer go to the reference books for information.
Google with their massive servers and large images portfolio is starting to become and online pictionary. Ben laid out the sadest truth when he said, “It’s really an unfiltered, uncritical record of the state of human culture in 2012,” concludes Ben.
So, how are we faring? “I would estimate about half of the book is revolting medical photos, porn, racism or bad cartoons.”
As for the book itself, it could also be worth a thousand or more lawsuits, depending on who holds the copyrights to the various images within the book. If you would like a copy of the book you can visit Ben’s site to pick up a copy and see more of his work.
What do you think of this dictionary? Would you like this being the new norm for a dictionary?