Chrome 26 Beta Adds Context-Aware Spelling

Google continues to enhance its Chrome Web browser, with the new beta getting an improved spell checker to make work inside the browser easier and more accurate.

The improvement is debutting in the latest beta version of the Chrome 26 browser, according to a 26 February post by Rachel Petterson, a Google software engineer, on the Google Chrome blog.


“Today’s Chrome Beta release brings improved spell checking to the browser,” wrote Petterson. “To start, we’ve refreshed the dictionaries for Chrome’s default spell checker, and have added support for Korean, Tamil and Albanian. Users who sync their settings will also notice their custom dictionary gets shared across devices now, so you won’t need to teach that new Chromebook how to spell your name.”

In addition, users who have enabled the “Ask Google for suggestions” spell check feature will now see support for grammar, homonym and context-sensitive spell checking in English, wrote Petterson. Similar features for additional languages will follow in the future.

“The new spell checking engine – which is also available in Google Docs – even understands proper nouns like ‘Justin Bieber’ and ‘Skrillex’ so if you’re wondering how many Ns there are in Dananananaykroyd, worry no more (there are four),” wrote Petterson.

After the beta version is tested and approved, it will be rolled out to users on Windows, Linux and Chrome OS in the coming weeks, with Macintosh support to follow, according to Google.

Busy Developments

The improved spell checker is the second big upgrade to the Chrome browser in a month. Chrome also just received a big enhancement with new speech-recognition capabilities that promise integration with Web applications to give users new ways of getting tasks accomplished. Chrome now has support for the Web Speech API, which developers can use to integrate speech-recognition capabilities into their Web apps.

The new speech-recognition feature is truly impressive, allowing users to dictate an email to a recipient without having to make a single keystroke. The Web Speech API will now likely be used by other Web developers to build more pages and content that will allow users to ditch their keyboards for a wide range of functions.

A demonstration of the new capability is visible in a demo that can be accessed using the latest Chrome browser.

Google is always seemingly hard at work making improvements to the Chrome browser – which, according to the latest December 2012 statistics from, leads Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser in global share. Chrome holds 29.4 percent of the market, compared with IE’s 27.8 percent share. Mozilla Firefox trailed with 20.1 percent, followed by Apple Safari at 14.8 percent and Opera at 2.5 percent.

In June 2012, when Chrome unseated Internet Explorer for Web supremacy for the first time, it was a watershed moment for the young browser. StatCounter data from more than 15 billion page views (4 billion from the United States and 850 million from the United Kingdom) for the full month of May 2012 showed Chrome took 32.43 percent of the worldwide market, compared with 32.12 percent for IE and 25.55 percent for Firefox.

Chrome 23 arrived in November 2012, about two months after the late-September release of the Google Chrome 22 browser, which introduced 3D gaming improvements and 24 security fixes. Chrome 22 included a Pointer Lock JavaScript API (also called Mouse Lock) that allows more accurate gaming while using a computer mouse. Chrome 22 also introduced Windows 8 enhancements and continuing improvements to the browser’s interoperability with Apple’s Retina screen technologies. The Retina screen support was first added to Chrome 21 in August 2012.

The Chrome browser, which celebrated its fourth birthday in September 2012, took on such established Web browsers as Mozilla’s Firefox, Internet Explorer and Apple’s Safari.

Also unveiled in February is a new feature that allows users of Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome browsers to communicate in video chats without having to install enabling plug-ins, giving users more flexibility in the browsers they choose. It’s the first time that such interoperability has been possible without add-on plug-ins.

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Originally published on eWeek.

Todd R. Weiss

Freelance Technology Reporter for TechWeekEurope and eWeek

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