And in the more-cool-resources-from-Google department, Google has formalized its dictionary offering. Although google.com/dictionary used to provide aggregated definitions for words from various dictionary resources online, it's now a full-blown dictionary tool that leverages Google's translation technology and provides concise definitions and synonyms.
Although Google's attempt to compete with Wikipedia via its Knol offering has been a remarkably dismal failure for a company that tends to get things right, this is a tool that could displace plenty of other properties like dictionary.com and answers.com. Not only does it provide a really uncluttered interface, but the extensive translation tools are quite useful. While Google Translate is useful for passages or entire sites, often ELL students simply need to clarify a single word; Google Dictionary fills the bill.
Better yet, for those of us who have adopted Google Apps, users can star words and definitions and store them in their Google accounts for reference. While this seems a small thing, like most things Google, it may lend itself to sharing and classroom use in the future as the company expands this offering.
My youngest son recently mastered the dictionary. Guide words, alphabetizing, you name it. He can use a paper dictionary. Great. Guess what? The paper dictionary can't translate the words he finds into 40 languages. It can't offer synonyms and contextual sentences faster than he can get the dictionary off the shelf. And he can't carry the Webster's Dictionary of the English Language (Deluxe Edition) that I won in a spelling bee 20 years ago in his backpack. I really should have titled this post Goodbye Dictionary, shouldn't I?