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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Google Auto-Corrects Some Queries

The Google Operating System blog reports that Google now automatically searches – or at least highlights – spell-checked versions of some search queries. As an example, when you search for christine aguilera, Google will not show you a “did you mean?” box, but show you an embolded “christina aguilera” anyway (at least sometimes*).

It seems Google is not actually searching for e.g. “christina aguilera”, though, as results for “christine aguilera” are appearing relatively high too (and are also embolded)... however, because many people linking to e.g. actually do mispell her name as Christine (apparently), the results are still fitting as Google puts focus on backlinks text when it ranks pages.

For other queries, Google did show both the “did you mean” box, as well as adding “fuzzy highlighting” in the results. I entered brinney spears, and Google asked “did you mean: britney spears” but also highlighted “Brintney Spears” in the results (note that the latter is neither the query’s misspelling nor the correct spelling!).

This behavior seems to be new. Previously, Google would already highlight e.g. Internet Explorer when you enter the abbreviation IE.

Also see the many misspellings of Britney Spears on Google.

*Hitting refresh on the same search, I was able to reproduce this specific query behavior most times, but not always. Possibly this is still being rolled out.


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