Data Strategy

June 16, 2007

Collective intelligence in Word 2007 spell checker

Filed under: Collective wisdom, Data Collection, Open Data — chucklam @ 5:30 pm

Via Gregor Hochmuth thru O’Reilly Radar, pointing out the use of collective intelligence in improving Word 2007’s spell checker:

I thought you might enjoy this: When I was closing Word 2007 today, I was surprised to see the attached dialog pop-up. Microsoft’s new spell checker asked me whether it could transmit certain unknown words and phrases that I used in the last several weeks.

Among them are choice examples like Wikipedia, Gladwell, shortcode and others — words that were certainly not in the original distributable. I assume Microsoft will re-distribute the most frequently submitted words in an upcoming spell checker update. Brilliant! And it reminds of the way in which Google first introduced its “Did you mean…?” feature– by tracking how users corrected their own spelling mistakes before re-trying a search.

Tim O’Reilly notes that a distinguishing feature of Web 2.0 apps (“Live Software”) is that they improve organically when more people use them more often. That is, the apps are architected to grow on usage data. This is certainly an idea I’ll have more to say in the future.

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