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Friday, April 01, 2005

Microsoft Word & Grammar Checker

Microsoft says it has been making continuous improvements in the Microsoft office grammar-checking tool, and the company notes that the issue is more complex than it might seem.It has been entertaining to sift through the ongoing discussion of UW professor Sandeep Krishnamurthy's campaign to improve Microsoft Word's grammar checker. A few of the highlights: The spelling and grammar checkers are handy tools but they can NEVER take the place of knowing how to spell or how to write.Experts in natural-language processing say the broader issue reflects a deep technological challenge beyond the current capabilities of computer science."It is tremendously difficult," said Karen Jensen, a retired Microsoft researcher who led the company's Natural Language Processing research group as it developed the underlying technology for the grammar checker, which debuted in 1997. "It gives you all kinds of respect for a human being's native ability to learn and understand in natural language." By comparison, the grammar checker in Corel Corp.'s WordPerfect Office 12 catches many of the errors in Krishnamurthy's test documents that aren't detected by the Microsoft Word 2003 grammar checker, even set at the highest sensitivity to errors.
My Take: No doubt, Microsoft is trying to improve things here- but nothing like competition accelarating faster delivery - absence of competition in the desktop application sodtware market is something that the world is genuinely missing.On a related note, read burnham's note on Is Microsoft Becoming IBM?

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