Posted April 19, 2010 8:55 am by with 4 comments

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Google is at it again. They are making the world a better place by helping everyone do everything at a faster pace and now helping us with difficult spelling issues that names can create. The latest improvements in Google search are designed to help search happen with fewer keystrokes. Among them is the further localization of Google search suggest. The Offiical Google blog tells us.

Last year we launched localized Google Suggest by country, offering relevant popular search queries tailored for different regions. However, just as people in the U.K. often look for different things than people in U.S., we’ve found that people in Seattle tend to look for different things than people in Dallas. So last week, we rolled out a version of Google Suggest that is tailored to specific metro areas in the U.S.

Here is a picture of how this search may play out. Of course, if you were really searching for Bart Simpson or your business contact Bart Smith this could be a bit annoying.

As for clearing up the issue of not being able to spell names accurately Google is helping searchers there as well. By attaching more descriptive information to a name search to help people sift through the many different search results that could come up around names. In particular this is designed to help with names that have many possible misspellings. Google tells us more.

Our new technology is based on the concept that people often know something else about the person besides the approximate spelling of his name. People often include other terms such as “composer” or “lawyer sparta wisconsin” in their search query, which provides valuable context to help us narrow the range of possibilities for the spelling correction. We use these additional descriptive words to offer you better suggestions. Some examples: [matthew devin oracle], [yuri lehner stanford], [simon tung machine learning]. With these improvements you’ll start seeing more useful spell corrections for names.

For now this enhancement is available in our English spelling system in the U.S. We’ll be rolling out the change to other parts of the world and other languages in the coming months.

The last enhancement announced by Google is that now correct spellings in the vein of “Did you mean?” are being presented in 31 languages.

I can see the benefits of all of these options. I don’t know about you, but I also get a little creeped out by them. If Google continues to try to “read our minds” and anticipate our intentions what will happen to folks in the future who never had the time to develop their own abilities without Google in the world? Will this produce someone who becomes so dependent on technology to “do the thinking” or will they simply be better and more advanced more quickly? Since most people seek the easy way out for things I suspect Google’s ability to “finish our thoughts” will have very mixed results in making people more effective. Maybe that’s Google’s motive so that folks become SO dependent on them that they can’t function well otherwise. That kind of dependence on any system could go a long way toward making advertisers happy because then their audience is truly captive. Creepy.

  • So I am guessing next Google will be able to understand slang and know that when people search for pop, they actually mean soda if they are from up north? Pretty cool stuff.

    The dependency on Google is already here. But I don’t really think it will be like you described of dumbing down society. Just being able to keep up with all the stuff that comes out and the technology that is here currently, makes us smarter than people used to be, IMO.

    I could be wrong, granted I don’t ever do math in my head anymore, so that might make me dumber.
    .-= Brett Burky´s last blog ..Top 7 Things To Do To Leverage Facebook Fan Pages For Your Business =-.

  • No sure if I am liking this. My concern is that it might not let user do the search instead google will do the thinking part of coming up with the keywords. from tech point it is great move as well as from user experience.

  • Why dont they just get it over with and do all searches for me. Tell me what I want. I am to stupid to do it for myself 🙁
    .-= Jaan Kanellis´s last blog ..Fire Fox 3.6.3 Bug in Google Analytics =-.

  • I think it is just a sign that computers, the internet, phones etc are just catching up with the human-side of us. For the last 20 or so years we’ve been sold on the idea of using unnatural interfaces like DOS and using a bunch of other acronyms just to get out of the bed in the morning.

    The fact that they anticipate what we are looking for is indeed a human quality. After all that is how we learn – by watching and then anticipating.
    .-= Wynne´s last blog ..Are You Using Effective Call to Actions On Your Website? =-.