Google’s parent company is trying to make complex tech jargon easier to understand.
Alphabet’s Jigsaw group launched a new project called Sideways Dictionary, which uses wacky analogies to explain tech and cybersecurity jargon.
Meant to be a "platform for finding and sharing helpful analogies to explain technological ideas," the project consists of a Chrome extension and website. When the Chrome extension is installed, words that have entries in the Sideways Dictionary are highlighted in blue. Hovering over them will show the relevant analogy.
Here’s what it looks like in action while browsing security researcher Brian Krebs’ blog.
They are intentionally written to be offbeat and "colorful," according to Jigsaw, and each term can have several accompanying analogies. A few more examples:
"It’s like baking a cake for a friend, then giving them the recipe."
"It’s like a high school prank, where you post the details of your friend’s house party all over town, so instead of 20 people, 900 show up."
"It’s like sending a sealed letter instead of a postcard."
"It’s like a fake ATM that prints out an error message when you try to use it, but in the meantime has taken your credit card details and pin number.
Oversimplifying things? Perhaps, but Jigsaw says that’s kind of the point. "Technical jargon makes it harder to understand the tools and technologies shaping our daily lives," the group writes in a post on Medium.
A partnership between Jigsaw and The Washington Post, the initial set of analogies were created by a handful of people, including Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt, but anyone can now contribute their own analogies to the effort. (The Washington Post editors are moderating submissions.)
They might just help someone understand key tech and cybersecurity terms a little better.