1-ClickAnswers: Tons of data with a mouseclick

May 09, '05 11:15:00AM

Contributed by: robg

1-ClickAnswers icon The macosxhints Rating:
9 of 10
[Score: 9 out of 10]

[Playing catch-up, this is the Pick of the Week for April 18th]

This week's pick came from a comment to the Add a Thesaurus to Pages hint -- thanks Deut3221 for the pointer! 1-ClickAnswers is sort of like a global knowledge miner for words. When it's running, you can highlight a word in any application, hit the 1-ClickAnswers hotkey, and be transferred to the program's mini-browser to view the results as seen on answers.com.

While the quality of the answers provided may vary depending on what you've chosen to look up, you're always sure to get a lot of information. Looking up the word loan, for instance, yielded entries in a dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, an investment dictionary, a legal dictionary, the WordNet 'related words' dictionary, a page in Wikipedia, a whole slew of language translations, related topics, external links, and much more. Clicking links in 1-ClickAnswers keeps you in their mini-browser, but you can also copy and paste the URLs into your regular browser.

Though I seldom need this much info on a word, it's pretty cool to see it all pulled together and presented locally like that. Also, the hotkey seems to work in all applications -- Carbon, Cocoa, and even Java (I just tested it in jEdit, and it worked great). Even better, as soon as you quit the program, the hotkey is gone, and that's that. 1-ClickAnswers also installs a system-wide service that you can use from Cocoa and some Carbon apps. But since it lacks a shortcut and the hotkey works everywhere, I don't really see the point.

For a free app, it's really tough to beat the amount of info you get with 1-ClickAnswers. Just keep in mind that the sources are sometimes of variable quality (though it's hard to go wrong with the standard dictionary and thesarus results.

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