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Google’s Testing New Dictionary Feature

Posted on | October 12, 2005 | 13 Comments

In the past year I have come to depend more and more on Google as a spell checker. Yesterday I was looking up the phone number to a cafe with Google and a new dictionary feature appeared Google is testing. In additional to the standard feature of “Did you mean”, Google hyperlinked the word in the search box it thought was misspelled. I clicked on it and a drop down menu appeared with possible correct spellings.

image of google's new dictionary feature

What was also surprising was it offered the option to “Add to dictionary”. Note I was not logged into any of my Google accounts such as gmail, adwords or adsense. This means it would be added to the general Google dictionary (probably once a set number of people clicked add). I wonder what precautions Google is taking to prevent manipulation of this. Imagine a consumer types in “coffee” and the correct spellings are website names such as “abccofffee”, “bestcoffee” or “gourmet-coffee”.

On a side note, when Microsoft Office cannot find the correct spelling of a word, I copy it into Google. 99% of the time Google gives me the correct spelling!

PauTo pointed out the Google Toolbar. Looking back at the original screenshot I noticed the “ABC Check” button was highlighted. When switching tabs in Firefox I must have accidentally clicked the “ABC Check” button (which I never use) or as PauTo points out a bug. This UI is directly tied into the Google Toolbar.


13 Responses to “Google’s Testing New Dictionary Feature”

  1. Google haciendo pruebas con diccionario
    October 12th, 2005 @ 7:36 am

    […] Para Google fue un acierto implementar el corrector ortográfico que te corregía con aquello de: cavrito “¿usted quiso decir cabrito?”. Conozco gente que usa google como corrector ortográfico habitualmente. En algunos datacenters Google está probando un cambio en este corrector que, además de decirte “usted quiso decir tal” convierte la palabra erronea en la caja de busqueda en un enlace que, al pulsarlo, se convierte en un drop down menu con las alternativas correctas. Mejor verlo en una imagen. Via Justilien. […]

  2. google.dirson.com
    October 12th, 2005 @ 8:23 am

    Which browser do u use?

  3. Justilien
    October 12th, 2005 @ 9:11 am

    I use Firefox with the Google Toolbar. When I tried to repeat it a few minutes later I did not get the same results.

  4. Tom
    October 12th, 2005 @ 9:26 am

    “On a side note, when Microsoft Office cannot find the correct spelling of a word, I copy it into Google. 99% of the time Google gives me the correct spelling!”

    I do the same thing. Google is great.

  5. PauTo
    October 12th, 2005 @ 10:12 am

    Looks like the spell checking option in the google toolbar, maybe it was a bug.

  6. Denis Carr
    October 12th, 2005 @ 12:25 pm

    Google often test out a new feature by presenting to users in a random fashion – I think thats why only some people will find the outcome outlined at the top.

  7. Thomas
    October 12th, 2005 @ 5:08 pm

    Excellent post. To bad it was the toolbar though. :(

  8. admin
    October 12th, 2005 @ 5:40 pm

    Yes it is interesting how the Toolbar is interfacing with the main site. Makes for an interesting UI (user interface) featured. We will have to see how this develops. It will be interesting to see if it is rolled out onto the main site.

  9. unsure
    October 13th, 2005 @ 2:13 am

    […] En la imagen, desde Justilien podemos observar la lista de palabras del diccionario, y una opción para editar, ignorar o añadir al diccionario: […]

  10. Gerard McGarry
    October 13th, 2005 @ 4:58 am

    I’ve been using the Google toolbar for spell checking quite a bit myself. It’s handy to have it for checking entries in web forms, and because the toolbar exists for IE and FireFox, that makes it even better!

  11. digger
    October 13th, 2005 @ 7:02 am

    Now if only they could integrate spell checking into every text field in the operating system…OH WAIT. That’s right…IT’S ALREADY BEEN DONE. It’s called Mac OS X. ; )

  12. neofactor
    October 13th, 2005 @ 7:20 am

    Heads Up:
    Google does have this feature…. it is under their Google Labs test area: http://www.google.com/webhp?complete=1&hl=en

    Lay off the machead… he is excited about the apple “One more thing” announcment yesterday. http://www.apple.com/

  13. Andrew Conkling
    October 13th, 2005 @ 7:54 am

    “This means it would be added to the general Google dictionary (probably once a set number of people clicked add).”

    …or that it would be added to the cookie that every Google search user already has. This seems more plausible.

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    Justilien Gaspard is a SEO/M consultant with over 11 years experience in organic search marketing. Professionally he's been a columnist for Search Engine Watch, spoken at several SES Conferences, and authored 3 advanced courses for SEMPO Institute. Learn more about Justilien.


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