Wednesday, April 20, 2005

I love spell check

Well, I love it when it works properly. For example, when I need to figure out how to spell something, I point my browser at Google.com and type away. It figures it out or I click on the definition in the upper right hand corner of the results page to link me to answers.com. It has everything I need all in one. The life of a grammatical numbskull just got better.

So my dichotomous example is Blogger.com's spell check. After typing up my last post, I decided to spell check it for all the fans of Eats, Shoots, and Leaves, and what's the first correction that pops up? The word blog to be replaced as bloc. Mmmmmkay. I'm blogging on blogger.com and BLOG gets flagged for being misspelled?!?!?! I can only laugh. I clicked the "learn" button on the spell check, and hopefully it won't make this mistake again. Hey Blogger.com guys... see if you can tap into Google's spell check now that you're part of the mothership. Stay away from the MS Word spell check engine. :)

One more mildly humorous anecdote related to Google's spell check. The text below comes from here (much of the charm is lost without the links, but I've included the Britney Spears one because it's the funniest).

We're exploring large-scale machine learning as a means of improving search quality. Our spelling correction system is one excellent example (spehl korector? phonitick spewling? who needs a dictniary?). People searching for Britney Spears have clearly found it useful on many occasions. In more recent work, we have been working on algorithms and techniques to construct very large scale Bayesian network models to help understand the relationships between words.

Either we as a society aren't doing a good job of teaching our young people how to spell, or Britney Spears has (or is it "had" these days) an inappropriately young following (or both).

Anyone else use Google to spell check? Do you use something else?