Google rolled out the latest update to its Chrome web browser today, and in the process, it introduced an intriguing new feature: an enhanced spell check that uses Google's search tech to suggest alternative spellings. Here's Google's spiel, plus a couple of screenshots nabbed from the official Chrome blog:
The “Ask Google for suggestions” spell checking feature, powered by the same technologies used by Google search, now supports grammar checking, proper nouns, homonyms, and context-sensitive spell checking in English. This means that you can now enjoy corrections like the following:
Impressive. Contextual spelling is something even Word screws up more often than not. Then again, the Word spell checker works locally. Enabling Chrome's new spell checking scheme brings up a mildly frightening warning message, which says the feature works by "sending what you type in the browser to Google servers."
Hey, wait a minute! I don't want everything I type in Chrome to be sent to Google! What kind of crazy dystopian world are we living in?
That's what I thought, anyway, until I realized that everything I post publicly on the Internet is already indexed by Google. And all my e-mails are already on Google's servers, since I use Gmail. And the same goes for most of my IM conversations, which go through Google Talk.
And... yeah, okay, fine. I'll use the new spell checker. Google practically owns my thoughts already.