As a non-native English speaker, I rely on a Define feature which helps me pull up the definition for any selected word in Safari and other apps, as determined by iOS’s built-in Dictionary.
With iOS 10, Apple has rebranded this feature as Look Up and it’s not just a marketing gimmick: On iOS 10, Look Up’s greatly expanded scope now serves up any piece of Internet content that Siri Suggestions support.
That Look Up’s interface has been reworked from top to bottom around a semi-translucent overlay which appears over your content doesn’t hurt either.
Define is now Look Up
“In addition to searching the Dictionary, Look Up now shows suggestions from iTunes, the App Store, movies showtimes, nearby locations and more,” reads the feature’s description. Since Look Up searches across basically the same Internet content sources as Spotlight, it’s reasonably safe to assume that it uses Siri Suggestions.
Good ol’ word definitions
For starters, here’s what defining words looks like on iOS 10.
As you can clearly see for yourself, the experience of looking up word definitions has not changed much functionally, but the interface has with word definitions appearing in a 3D Touch-like sheet with the background blurred out.
If no definition or a piece of online content could be found for the selected word, LookUp goes on to present you with a link to run a search on the web using your default search engine, as depicted on the screenshots below.
This is all fine and dandy, but we’ve been able to look up words on iOS for years now. How about that expanded search scope mentioned in the opening paragraph?
Searching for “Twitter”
Here it goes…
Selecting the word “Twitter” and then choosing Look Up yields rich results from the App Store, with both Twitter and Periscope apps (Periscope is owned by Twitter) listed below the term’s dictionary definition.
And now, my favorite example: Finding Dory.
Looking up “Finding Dory” puts Look Up’s potential on full display. For starters, you get rich results from multiple Internet sources, including related movies from the iTunes Store, related apps and games from the App Store, the official website, news articles covering the animated movie and more.
And if you tap on the movie poster inside of your results, Look Up will actually show you showtimes for your current geographical location.
How cool is that?
It’s pretty much the same experience as rich web-based results in Spotlight Search and Siri Suggestions, now inside the context of any app that supports selecting text.
Your thoughts on Look Up
In a way, Apple has taken core functionality of Siri-driven suggestions that used to be relegated to Spotlight search, and implemented it in other places within iOS 10, such as this new Look Up feature.
How do you like iOS 10’s Look Up so far? Is this new iOS 10 feature something you’d use every day, occasionally or never? Chime in with your thoughts in the comments below.