Quick Tip: When Google Tries to Correct Your Spelling

Sometimes people at work want me to do search engine-y things. A co-worker’s mother is losing her vision, unfortunately, and he wanted some help in finding equipment for her. “I want her to have one of those scanners,” he said. “You put a letter on it and it reads it.” I thought he meant a computer scanner, but after looking around some I think he means a whole class of scan-and-read standalone devices. One of them is called The ScannaR. (There’s also SARA, the Portset, and the Extreme Reader XR10, if you want to look around on your own.)

The ScannaR and similar devices are pretty expensive — I saw prices for around $3000 — so I tried to find a used one. eBay didn’t pan out, so I decided to look on Google.

scannar for sale found only about 3,060 results, but many of them were for people who couldn’t spell the word scanner. So I tried again with scannar for sale blind.

Imagine my surprise when the result count jumped up to 511,000!

Turns out Google was politely correcting my spelling when I DIDN’T WANT IT TO BE CORRECTED and searching for scanner instead of scannar. So I ended up with half-a-million results. If you want Google to quit correcting your spelling, put a + in front of the word you want left alone. In this case +scannar for sale blind brought me a mere 100 results, a much more easily-handled set.

I found a good circular listing different types of assistive products at I think I’ll take it to my co-worker and see if he can clarify a bit on what he wants. Maybe he and I can sit down and look at Abledata.

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