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  • Word Flow – The best feature in Windows Phone 8 That We Never Hear About


    Dave
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    I’m a WP8 Fan

     

    I’ve been a fan of Windows Phone 8 since I purchased a Lumia 920 in November of 2012.  From my perspective, one of the great distinctions between the WP8 platform and other smartphone operating systems is what I’d refer to as the ‘word prediction’ function.

     

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    While I’d never call myself an expert, I’ve used different types of devices – iOS, WebOS, Android and BlackBerry.  One of the most frustrating components of all smartphones for me has been the word prediction and auto correct features.  My experience worsened since the introduction of screen-based keyboards.  I can’t say how many times I’ve wanted to stomp on my device for insisting that it knows best what I want to type.  Apparently, I’m not alone – check out the site called Damn You Autocorrect for some hilarious examples.

     

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    The keyboard and typing experience on Windows Phone 8 is exceptional and I’ve always wondered why Microsoft or the device manufacturers don’t emphasize its performance in advertising.  I’d even mentioned this to a Microsoft WP8 representative who agreed that this is an important benefit that needs to be highlighted in the marketplace.

     

    Word Flow – The Secret Sauce

     

    So what is it – a Microsoft feature, a Nokia application, coincidence – that makes Windows Phone shine where others struggle?  The answer – a feature called ‘Word Flow’.  Word Flow is a continuation and renaming of the Quick Correct component of WP 7.5.  Taking a look under the hood helps to explain why Word Flow is so superior to other solutions.  Here are the most important aspects taken from the following Windows Phone blog post - The secrets of the Windows Phone 8 keyboard:

    • Built-in Dictionary – As you would expect, the operating system contains a dictionary of commonly-used words.  What’s unique about Word Flow is in the collection of data around how people use words.  It’s interesting to consider that Microsoft has a considerable amount of historical data around word usage based on the success of the Office platform for as long as any of us can remember.
    • Relevance – Accurate word prediction also requires proper associations.  Word Flow uses geographic and linguistic analysis to make decisions to help determine your typing intent based on the perspective of everyday conversation.
    • Trigram – As explained in this Wikipedia page, trigrams include characters and words and refer to a contiguous sequence of n items from a given sequence of text or speech.  Analysis of trigrams are what enables Word Flow to determine that ‘happy’ is often followed by the word ‘birthday’ and that the words ‘New York’ are often followed by the word ‘City’.
    • Variable Key Targets – This takes the analysis of language to the next level – in this case – to the physical layer of the on-screen keyboard.  What happens is – as the analysis of the typed words ‘New’ and ‘York’ proceeds, the screen keys for characters in the word ‘City’ expand.  This attempts to prevent my frequent fat finger mistakes.

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    Let’s Talk It Up

     

    Now it’s clear to me –word predictions in WP8 are superior as a result of Word Flow.  In the never-ending series of commercials attempting to highlight what’s special about WP8, why have I never heard this mentioned?  It’s time that Microsoft starts trumpeting the superiority of the feature in its advertising.  Ladies and gentleman, start your keyboards!

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