Amid the ongoing fight against misinformation, Google is updating its search systems with a new feature that tells you if it is not “highly confident” with the quality of the sources that were gathered.
With the updates, Google will send you a warning at the top of your search results whenever a particular topic cannot be provided with reliable information from the whole set of sources.
However, it was noted by Google Search Vice President Pandu Nayak in an August 11 blog post that you may still access any of the provided results regardless of the content advisories.
“These notices provide context about the whole set of results on the page,” wrote Nayak, stating that the advisories may not mean that the results of your query are altogether “unhelpful” or “low-quality.”
To showcase how their new content advisory works, Google provided a sample of a complicated query on “How to get in touch with the Illuminati.” Shown on top of the search result is a line that cautions you over the quality of the sources, followed by some helpful reminders that can help you find and determine trustworthy information.
Aside from the new advisory feature, Google’s systems for its featured snippets were also tweaked to provide relevant information. Featured snippets are the bite-size information that is provided in your search results. These pieces of information are taken from reliable sources which are conveniently offered to you through the Google Search page.
“They’re helpful both for people searching on Google, and for web publishers, as featured snippets drive traffic to sites,” wrote Nayak in the official blog post.
Despite the convenience offered by featured snippets, Google noticed that their systems would sometimes provide factual results for questions that have no answers. To set an example, Google pointed out an instance wherein someone asked, “When did Snoopy assassinate Abraham Lincoln?” Despite the odd question, Google still provided a featured snippet of Lincoln’s date of assassination, which could lead to a case of misinformation.
To remedy this problem, Google has improved its systems to detect false premises and reduced the trigger for featured snippets by 40%.