Google Research

Personalized Online Spell Correction for Personal Search

The Web Conference 2019 (WWW) (2019)


Spell correction is a must-have feature for any modern search engine in applications such as web or e-commerce search. Typical spell correction solutions used in production systems consist of large indexed lookup tables based on a global model trained across many users over a large scale web corpus or a query log.

For search over personal corpora, such as email, this global solution is not sufficient, as it ignores the user's personal lexicon. Without personalization, global spelling fails to correct tail queries drawn from a user's own, often idiosyncratic, lexicon. Personalization using existing algorithms is difficult due to resource constraints and unavailability of sufficient data to build per-user models.

In this work, we propose a simple and effective personalized spell correction solution that augments existing global solutions for search over private corpora. Our event driven spell correction candidate generation method is specifically designed with personalization as the key construct. Our novel spell correction and query completion algorithms do not require complex model training and is highly efficient. The proposed solution has shown over 30% click-through rate gain on affected queries when evaluated against a range of strong commercial personal search baselines - Google's Gmail, Drive, and Calendar search production systems.

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