Sunday, October 3, 2010

What Happens If You Google Free Word Prediction?

For over two years, my district school board's IT folks have had difficulty provisioning Co:Writer in classrooms despite it being licensed by the government of Ontario for use in all schools. First there was a bug with version 5 that needed patching, then it wouldn't "play nice" with other software on the standard image. Therefore, I've been searching for a free, preferably web-based, word-prediction software to fill the gap.
Well, just as the IT department finally rolled out an updated image, with Co:Writer working properly, I've learned about Google Labs' Google Scribe. It's web-based word prediction, and it comes at my favourite price point: free.
Google already uses prediction algorithms for searches, and who can rival its data on usage of word combinations? However, as a "Labs" product, Google Scribe is not quite fully polished. For some reason, they haven't filtered out spelling errors from the prediction list. (I saw "speshul", "spechal", "acomodation", and "speling", for example.) It would be great if Google could apply its excellent "Did you mean...?" spelling correction algorithms to misspelled words in Google Scribe.
Fortunately, Google has blocked out foul language and crude word combinations from the prediction box.
What's really ironic, though, is that I tried using Google to search for free word prediction software again just now, and Google Scribe didn't show up. Maybe that will change soon as word gets out about this product.

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