Thursday, December 30, 2010

Google Beats Spell-Check for Figuring Out How a Word is Spelled

I was writing an email to my friend and entrepreneurial colleague Mike Horn over at CraftCoffee trying to help him articulate his company's vision in a way that will help potential investors see the opportunity as clearly as he does.  Somewhere along the line it became clear that the word connoisseur was going to have be used.  In writing.  Except that I had no idea how to spell it.  

Not only did I not know how to spell it, I couldn't even get close enough for the spell-checker to figure out what I was talking about.  I tried out "conneseiur" and "connesiour", but MS Word (and ironically Chrome as well, which must be using the same spell-check engine), just wanted to suggest words that started with the word "connect" (connections, Connecticut, connectible, etc.).  Quickly calculating that the ratio of vowel combinations to my knowledge of French approached infinity, I realized that this was not going to get anywhere.  So, I turned to that modern oracle of all knowledge, Google.

In the address bar of my Chrome browser (not even on the Google site!), I started typing: c-o-n-n-e-s.  The first suggestion Google gave me was "connestee falls."  But the second?  You guessed it.  Google 1, spell-check 0.  And as Google Instant likes to point out, I didn't even have to press enter.

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