Wednesday, March 21, 2012

[G] Spell checking powered by the web

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Docs Blog: Spell checking powered by the web

One of my early projects at Google was to improve the suggestions that are made when a query is misspelled in Google Search. The neat thing about that system is that it’s adaptive: our suggestions get smarter and smarter based on the words Googlebot sees as it explores the web.

But search isn’t the only place where I make spelling mistakes! And that got me wondering: could we take this adaptive technology and use it to make spell checking better in other places?

The answer is yes. To prove it, today we’re launching an update to spell checking in documents and presentations that grows and adapts with the web, instead of relying on a fixed dictionary. This update has a few big advantages over traditional spell checkers:

  1. Suggestions are contextual. For example, the spell checker is now smart enough to know what you mean if you type “Icland is an icland.”

  2. Contextual suggestions are made even if the misspelled word is in the dictionary. If you write “Let’s meat tomorrow morning for coffee” you’ll see a suggestion to change “meat” to “meet."
  3. Suggestions are constantly evolving. As Google crawls the web, we see new words, and if those new words become popular enough they’ll automatically be included in our spell checker—even pop culture terms, like Skrillex. 

This new spell checker is available for English documents and presentations, but we plan to bring it to more languages soon. We’re really excited to give you a spelling system that continuously gets better. We hope it will make writing more efficient and enjoyable for you.

Posted by Yew Jin Lim, Software Engineer
URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2012/03/spell-checking-powered-by-web.html

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