Office ‘gets’ Game of Thrones

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Almost a year ago we sarcastically complained about the lack of words from ‘Game of Thrones’ in the Office dictionary.  We didn’t expect Microsoft to do anything out it and, if they did, thought they’d tell customers.

Slate magazine has noticed that many Westeros names now don’t get a red squiggly line.

Back in January, Microsoft updated the Office dictionary and, without telling anyone, added words of the Games of Thrones fictional world.  Here’s how a sample list looks now:

There may be mixed views on whether adding words from fiction is the right thing for Microsoft to do.  Here’s what Microsoft told Slate (actually the complete statement that they copied to Office Watch later):

Glad you noticed that we are not just about common words. We regularly update the spellers to keep them fresh, including additions from the latest, most frequent names from movies, books and TV shows. To do this, we research what people are talking about, what’s trending in the business world, current affairs and other popular domains. We can’t add everything that comes up, so we reference different sources and determine which words to include. One of the 2014 lexical updates included the addition of characters from the Game of Thrones. Names relating to the TV show surfaced through several data sources which qualified them to be added. Up until 2014 we updated the English speller quarterly with 12,000 words added last year. Since January 2015 we’ve been updating the English speller on a monthly basis, and are on track to add an additional 32,000 words in 2015.

We are excited to begin providing more frequent updates across our supported languages, as well as incorporating cloud based components to our existing solutions to provide the most up-to-date content as possible. Another area that is important to us is providing additional context for users. When users right click on words they not only get spelling suggestions but also get information such as Bing powered insights, translation, thesaurus, and dictionaries across Office Online, Universal and Mac (and soon Office 2016).

We are excited to work on features that leverage information to help users communicate with confidence and poise.

So it seems that words are added because of their common use, not from fanboys within Microsoft.

BTW – Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, is still the only Apollo astronaut missing from the Office dictionary.

Why keep it a secret?

We’ve looked through the Office 2013 updates for mention of dictionary updates and can’t find any.  That doesn’t mean there was no disclosure because the little documentation provided for Office updates is hard to find and parse.

We’ve asked Microsoft for details and will let you know.


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