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Did You Mean: "He Invented"?  (View post)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

Monday, May 7, 2007
16 years ago9,688 views

Update: "he gave birth" on the other hand remains unspellchecked.

Over at Reddit, people discuss whether this is primarily based on index frequency or data compiled from search behavior:

Travis Harris [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

"He gave birth" is often used for ideas, companies or even games..... so I would imagine it is not too far from common

Travis Harris [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

"She scored" is also corrected to "he scored" (Thinking sports here)

Male sports definitely get more coverage

Travis Harris [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

"he was lactating" definitely should be corrected :) but nope... I could not find anything that was corrected from he to she

the following are also corrected to he :
"She instructed"
"She saved"
"she discovered"
"she inaugurated"
"she golfed"
"she conquered"

Something else interesting ....
"She cured" was not corrected at all, but "he curred" is corrected to "he carried"

Think it is possible that he is much more commonly a typo for she than she is for he?

Anywho... there are plenty more....

Zim [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Don't tell this to women...

Matthew Claypotch [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

If this has been explained as an effect of the correction algorithm, why bring up every example that can be stretched into controversy?

Shelley Powers [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

Because, on presumes, it supposedly demonstrates how little women are referenced online as compared to men. Google wouldn't apply a correcting algorithm unless there was a significantly larger usage of "he..." over "she..."

"she created..."
"she voted..."
"she cares..."

but not

"she believes..."
"she thinks..."

Well, I guess we're allowed to think.

Where this is less than controversial, though, is based on two things:

Predominant religions are focused at a central male figure. As such, religious discussions, which are extensive, feature male pronouns. The same can be said for predominately male leaders.

One would prefer to have fewer male leaders, and perhaps less religion, but Google reflects the state of the web at the moment.

Secondly, the male is used as a placeholder when unknown individuals are referenced. "Your user will push this button when _he_" The use of the feminine is not that widespread.

I'd say this is more a flaw with Google than society, though society also has problems.

Matthew Claypotch [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

Google does not "apply" a correction algorithm. Given the vast number of "did you mean" messages that come up, one can only imagine a threshold that must be passed for the results system to trigger a search correction, automatically. I am completely opposed to a manual change to such an algorithm just because it produces the occasional result that people consider offensive. The computer is not a bigot- it is a silent objective statistician, prone only to the opinions and bias fed into it.

Ringelnetz [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

Try this:

   "He cooked"

you'll get

   "He looked"



Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Let's not call this "correction".

It's Google asking a question, and providing a convenient link in case the answer to the question is "yes". It's not Google correcting you.

Rohit Srivastwa [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Why its always SHE...

putting up a forwarded mail in this context but very true on this internet age :)

How the company views its employees. (HE VS SHE)

1. The family picture is on HIS desk.
Ah, a solid, responsible family man.
The family picture is on HER desk.
Umm, her family will come before her career.
   2. HIS desk is cluttered.
He's obviously a hard worker and a busy man.
HER desk is cluttered.
She's obviously a disorganised scatterbrain
   3. HE is talking with his co-workers.
He must be discussing the latest deal
SHE is talking with her co-workers.
She must be gossiping.
   4. HE's not at his desk.
He must be at a meeting.
SHE's not at her desk.
She must be in the ladies' room.
   5. HE's not in the office.
He's meeting with customers.
SHE's not in the office.
She must be out shopping.
   6. HE's having lunch with the boss.
He's on his way up.
SHE's having lunch with the boss.
They must be having an affair.
   7. The boss criticised HIM.
He'll improve his performance.
The boss criticized HER.
She'll be very upset.
   8. HE got an unfair deal.
Did he get angry?
SHE got an unfair deal.
Did she cry?
   9. HE's getting married.
He'll get more settled.
SHE's getting married.
She'll get pregnant and leave.
   10. HE's having a baby.
He'll need a raise.
SHE's having a baby.
She'll cost the company money in maternity benefits.


jed [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

But try some negative things, like "she murdered," etc., and it suggests "he murdered"...

Heather Paquinas [PersonRank 2]

16 years ago #

lol, "she ejac*****d" brings up "he ejac*****d"

kiran [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

Did you mean:

why this is comming even my site is indexed.

please suggest.

[URL unlinked – Tony]

joy [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #,GGLJ:2006-32,GGLJ:ja&q=%e2%80%9cshe+invented%e2%80%9d

Khushi [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

Well...Just try – She betrayed on google and .......!!!!!!!!!

TP [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

Its not google's fault here ... its just an algorithm ... btw, i guess loads of feminists here ...

Tue Abrahamsen [PersonRank 7]

16 years ago #

Nobody saids it was anybodys fault – just playing with the fun of algorithms :)

Devna Sood [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

one look at:

"She developed" [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

we're not feminists, just geeks.

I find that women in technology are usually better engineers and can see the human and social element in technology and see past the computer, better than men can.

sandswipe [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

All three of them.

Hobz [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Check out this one :


Me [PersonRank 8]

16 years ago #

Then there's the difference in results, for example compare

"his waist" with "her waist"

The pronoun is more than a filter.

/pd [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Ok, I am not against Main Stream Media.. but is not Chicago Tribune actually ripping of Philipp's originals post without proper attribution ??

I mean the author has taken this seed of thought and spin it in a slightly different way.. and is that called as authentic Journalism ??

James Xuan [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

What a sack. He should have explained how google works

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

The article is pretty good (it includes an explanation from Goog too). I don't know who discovered this, but Digg and Reddit seem the most visible sources:

cram [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

she brilliant
she intelligent
she genius

all ask "he ...?"

"she sermoised" doesn't. Neither does "she nagged."

Paul Wong [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Wwomen in tech is often better than man because the no. of female in tech is small and those who actually get interested are often the "best of the best" ones.

While, many male IT workers are just not "the great ones" you know. Most jobs are done by 20% of people, I read :)

David Hetfield [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

well, it's gone now.

though this one remains wrong :

Rohit Srivastwa [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Yes its gone
No more "he..." doing things

David Hetfield [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Update the blog post Philipp :)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Done now David.

Licy [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

I find it a tad offensive. I mean, girls can invent too gosh!

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