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Google Uses New Spell-Check in Google Docs

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The new smart spell-checker may save many a presentation.

    Google has decided that its search is not the only place where users would benefit from an intelligent spell-checker, but also in Google Docs.

    After noting how Googlebot sees misspelled queries and corrects them, software engineer Yew Jin Lim thought the process would work on spell-checking documents, he wrote on the Google Docs Blog.

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

    This means the omniscient Googlebot can figure out wrong words, rather than misspellings -- because many homonyms are spelled correctly, just not used correctly. Using "meat" for "meet" or "there" for "their" would finally be recognized, Lim said. Even products or pop culture names would also be suggested. (Our trial showed that Google did indeed figure out the difference between  "their," "there" and "they're." So we give it an A in grammar.)

    We do think some of the most common spelling errors are made by mixing up homonyms, so this new spell-checker would help many PowerPoint presenters from looking foolish because they can't tell the difference between "two" and "too." For now, though, it's only available in English, but Google said it would begin to roll out other languages soon.