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May 14, 2007

Stereotypes Revealed by Google's Spell Checker

Google's automated spell checker is useful and most of the times accurate, but lately some people noticed that the spell checker corrects queries like "she invented" / "she created" / "she discovered" with "he invented" / "he created" / "he discovered". Google analyzes people's queries to come up with the suggestions, so one of the explanation could be that the masculine versions are more frequently used.

Chicago Tribune got an official response from Google: "Google develops its own spell-checking algorithms based on sophisticated machine learning methods, using cues from aggregated user input, Web documents, and many other sources. The algorithm provides a 'best-guess' alternative suggestion that we think might improve the search results, and is completely generated without human input. It can be thought of as a suggestion offer, rather than a definitive answer."

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