Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Forsook! Google Can't Spell "Facebook"

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 8, 2011

I use GMail all the time and its spell checker is usually pretty good. But the other day I noticed it can't spell "Facebook."

I tried some other computer company names but only Facebook was flagged:

GSpell.png

Is this really such a tough algorithmic problem? After all, how many times has GMail seen the word "Facebook?"

Not enough times apparently because it offers these as a guess: Face book, Casebook, Passbook, and thinking we live in Elizabethan times: Forsook.

This has to be deliberate that Google cannot figure out how to spell "Facebook." This means that Google does use humans to interfere with its results -- it's not all algorithm all the time. Yet it loves to bolster the mythology of its algorithm.

For example: At the bottom of each page on Google News you will find this explanation:

"The selection and placement of stories on this page were determined automatically by a computer program."

Maybe The Google spell checker should come with this explanation:

"The selection and correction of misspellings on this page were determined automatically by who we hate. No computer program was involved."


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