Google Announces Changes To Search Results

Randall Craig
April 27, 2017

"This can sometimes lead to results that are unexpected, inaccurate or offensive", said Ben Gomes, Google's vice president of engineering. They will also be able to report offensive autocomplete suggestions - the suggested phrases that show up when you begin typing a query in the search engine.

Google also says its algorithms have now been trained to demote "low quality" content based on signals like whether the information comes from an "authoritative" page.

Users can also provide direct feedback and flag problematic results from Google's AutoComplete and Featured Snippets field, which displays answers to search questions in a dedicated field above search results.

In addition to these newly introduced features to tackle fake news, Google has also launched its own fact-checking mechanism that flags news as true or false.

The first step it has taken is to update its Search Quality Rater Guidelines, which offers examples of low-quality webpages that Google's real-life "raters" use as a resource to decide which websites should be downgraded in search. Just as editors at traditional media outlets have to curate content and separate fact from fiction, Google has to do the same on a massive scale for all the stuff published to the web. "However, it has become very apparent that a small set of queries in our daily traffic (around 0.25 percent) have been returning offensive or clearly misleading content, which is not what people are looking for". Some folks have also accused Facebook of influencing United States 2017 election by promoting posts in favor of the candidate.

Meanwhile, Google recently updated its How Search Works site to provide detailed info to users and website owners about the technology behind Google Search. Much of Google's search features rely on algorithms and machine learning but, as history has proven, those aren't exactly infallible.

However, as Search Engineland points out, because the numbers are low, Google was caught off guard by a PR crisis that emerged in recent months over shoddy results.

You will see a feedback link in tiny print and if you click on it, you can provide feedback as to whether the source was accurate, used vulgar or hateful speech, is harmful or risky and whether you considered it harmful, unsafe or violent. Instead, some of them involve fake news where people make things up.

Under the featured snippets which shows up as summary boxes on top of the search results, users will find a' feedback' option. "These feedbacks would be helpful to us in improving our algorithms", Gomes added.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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