If anyone wants a candidate for a web service that everyone needs, I propose spell checking. This function demands regular updates, not to mention punctilious debugging.
Word 97, for example, still used by many eWeek readers, can be the worst kind of back-seat driver: It interrupts you to give you wrong directions (see screen, right). Yes, “commonalty” is actually a word, meaning “the common people”—but its much less often used than “commonality,” which Word 97 calls an error.
Does Word 2002 get it right? You be the judge. Word 2002 accepts either spelling, even though only “commonality” is in its thesaurus as having a known definition. I dont think this is the way to do it, either.
The best interim solution Ive found is www.dictionary.com, which offers multiple definitions (including “commonalty”) from varied, credible sources.
In the meantime, if anti-virus software can regularly offer to update definitions, cant spelling checkers do the same?