Long ago, before search engines added automatic spell checking to their bag of tricks (did you mean to search for MASSACHUSETTS?) I knew people who used Google (or before that, Altavista) as a spell checker. Just search for the word spelled one way, then another, and compare the number of hits. If you get 125 hits for one spelling and 13,456 for the other, you have a pretty good idea of which is right.
Today I found myself using Google News as a sort of voting fact checker to establish (forgive my ghoulishness) whether Yasser Arafat has or has not died. You can count votes from different news organizations. The main news.google.com (or .ca for me) gives you a handful of stories, but click a link under “In The News” and you see a lot more. For example, http://news.google.ca/news?num=30&hl=en&ned=ca&ie=utf-8&q=Yasser-Arafat. Perhaps not what they had in mind, but an intruiging thing to be able to do.