Is Google's Spell Checker Biased

Mar 8, 2007 - 7:36 am 4 by
Filed Under Misc Google

A WebmasterWorld thread asks if others agree that Google's spell checker is biased towards American English.

The example given is if you search on rumors at Google UK, you are not given a "did you mean? rumours." But when you go to Google.com and type in rumours, for him, Google will return a "did you mean? rumors" link.

The discussion in the forum thread is fun but also educational.

If you look at Google Help and scroll down to the spell checker area, you will see Google does bias the results based on most common usage.

Google's spell checking software automatically looks at your query and checks to see if you are using the most common version of a word's spelling. If it calculates that you're likely to generate more relevant search results with an alternative spelling, it will ask "Did you mean: (more common spelling)?". Clicking on the suggested spelling will launch a Google search for that term. Because Google's spell check is based on occurrences of all words on the Internet, it is able to suggest common spellings for proper nouns (names and places) that might not appear in a standard spell check program or dictionary.

As you can clearly see, Google's spell check feature is based on "occurrences of all words on the Internet," so if the Internet is biased towards American English, so will Google.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

 

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