April 5, 2012
Is Spellcheck Making Spelling Obsolete?
Will Oremus, Slate
Want to know more about Brittany Griner, the 6-foot-8 dunking phenom who helped Baylor’s women’s basketball team win a national championship on Tuesday night? How about the war in Afganistan, the morgage crisis, and American Idle? Go ahead and Google it.
“Did you mean: American Idol?” Google asks. Oops. Sure did. With each of the other misspellings above, Google is so confident it knows what you meant that it doesn’t even bother to ask. “Showing results for brittney griner,” it notes, before offering, in small text, an option to “search instead for brittany griner.” (Microsoft’s Bing search engine does the same thing, with slightly altered wording.)
Over the past five years, Web browsers have become better at spelling than most humans. In a 2008 Slate...