Google Search has a pretty impressive spell check in place that lets you know if you’ve spelled a word wrong and gives you suggestions as to what word you might have been wanting to spell. Turns out the guys that run Google Docs thought this was pretty cool too as they’re bringing it to Docs.
Yew Jin Lim, a software engineer with Google, penned a piece today on the Docs Blog about his team bringing search spell check to Google Docs. The key advantage here is that the spell check in Google Docs will no longer rely on a dictionary for the words you spell. Like Google Search, Docs spell check will now adapt with the Web.
Lim shows off a few pretty impressive examples of Google’s new spell check. The first shows him typing in “Icland is an icland.” As I typed that into my text editor, both instances of “icland” are underlined and the spell check gives me three choices – Iceland, inland and island. Google claims that their spell check is contextual and once it knows that the first word is Iceland, it will correct the second “icland” to “island.”
It will also fix that little problem of people using the wrong, but properly spelled, word. Lim uses the example of “Let’s meat tomorrow morning for coffee.” He says that Google’s spell check will correct the “meat” to “meet” based on context.
Google is also taking into account the fact that the Web is constantly evolving and making up new words. If the word becomes popular enough, it will be added to the spell checker. Lim uses the example of Skrillex being included as a word now in Google Docs.
The new spell check system is available right now for Google Docs and presentations in English. They are hoping to roll out the new system to other languages soon.
As a writer, this makes me excited. Having a constantly evolving spell check would solve a lot of the problems current spell checks have, especially those that automatically change the word on you.