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July 19, 2011

Multiple "Did You Mean" Suggestions

Google's spell checker has always returned a single suggestion when it was very likely that your query was misspelled. In many cases, Google now returns the results for the corrected query and shows a message above the results: "Showing results for [corrected query]. Search instead for [original query]".

Google started to show a "did you mean" message even for queries that are too ambiguous to be corrected automatically. For example, if you search for [efrazin], a query that returns a small number of results, Google suggests four other similar keywords that are more popular, but the list doesn't include [e. frazin].

The new feature is a clever way to combine spell checking with related searches and show additional suggestions for weird queries that are likely to be misspelled. Even if the suggestions aren't always useful, it's a low-risk feature and you won't see too often.

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