According to Twitter, its recently launched spelling correction and related queries feature for search has provided serious value since its launch in late April. It says within two weeks of release, it has provided 5 million spelling corrections and 100 million suggested search queries.
Search has been a huge pain-point for Twitter since its inception. The company purchased search company Summize in 2008 to help fix that problem, and it seems like the company is working hard to right the ship.
Here’s what the developer team had to say about the functionality today, which includes highly technical speak:
As you may have noticed, searches on twitter.com, Twitter for iOS, and Twitter for Android now have spelling corrections and related queries next to the search results.
Twitter’s spelling correction has a number of unique challenges: searchers frequently type in usernames or hashtags that are not well-formed English words; there is a real-time constancy of new lingo and terms supplied by our own users; and we want to help people find those in order to join in the conversation. To address all of these issues, on top of our context-based mechanism, we also index dictionaries of trending queries and popular users that are likely to be misspelled, and use Lucene’s built-in spelling correction library (tweaked to better serve our needs) to identify misspelling and retrieve corrections for queries.
Search is difficult, just ask Microsoft and Google. It’s good to see that Twitter is continuing to work on this, as I hadn’t even noticed the “did you mean?” popping up in search results:
The company says that it will be pushing out more features in the near future that will make it even easier to search for and discover content. Its Discovery tab has done a pretty good job of providing much-needed context in the interim.