AI Search Prediction for Online Dictionaries

Artificial intelligence and online dictionary

Words and Definitions organized in a Tree Format (source: Michael Wehar)

Introduction: AI Search Prediction

In this article we explore how an AI could predict your next search term.

My Question

Can an AI predict what a user will search next?

Online Dictionaries

For several years, I have been enthusiastic about online dictionaries.  Online Dictionaries are some of the most popular websites on the internet because they solve a significant problem. In particular, when a person encounters a word that they do not know, an online dictionary allows them to quickly look up the meaning of the word.

Why AI Search Prediction?

Although online dictionaries are great, sometimes the first search result is not sufficient.  For example, there can be unknown words in the definition that need to be searched as well.  I have personally had situations where it led me down a rabbit hole of searches and before I knew it, I had forgotten the original word that I was searching.

For this reason, I decided to build an AI-based web application to predict the user’s next search term for Online Dictionaries.

My Solution

Several years ago, I pursued a data analysis project where I analyzed word dependency using public domain data. I was able to use this notion of word dependency to build an AI that predicts what a user will search next in an online dictionary.

The AI was incorporated into my web application called Treegle Dictionary.

Treegle Dictionary Screenshot
Treegle Dictionary Screenshot (source: Michael Wehar)

Treegle Dictionary is an online dictionary that will predict what a user will search next.  In addition, it will search all of those words automatically so that a user does not even need to enter their next search.

Example of a Definition Tree
Example of a Definition Tree (source: Michael Wehar)

The search results are displayed in a tree format so that a user can easily see their search result as the root of the tree and all of their future search results as children of the root.

Future Plans

Treegle Dictionary was my first attempt to build an AI-based program that predicts a user’s next search term.  I suspect that the prediction could be greatly improved if I used better data sources.  Also, the definition quality could be improved as well.  I would love to partner with an established publishing or dictionary brand to provide better AI search predictions for online dictionaries.

Over the years, I have received so many valuable suggestions regarding my web application and its design.  I hope to continue making improvements based on these suggestions.  Thank you so much!