Google said Friday it notifies people when they look up breaking news or other “rapidly evolving” topics that their search results may be unreliable. It is one of several Fact review Actions the tech giant has taken in recent years to curb the spread of misinformation and provide important context for topics that are trending online.
The new prompt warns users that the topic in question is under development, so search results change quickly as more meaningful information comes to light. “When this topic is new, it can sometimes take time to add results from reliable sources,” says the prompt that appears above the search results, in part. In short, take everything you see with caution for the time being.
In order to determine when to insert the warning, Google has trained its software systems to identify rapidly evolving topics whose sources are so far limited in weight, according to Danny Sullivan, Google’s public contact for search.
“We will now display a notice that it is best to check back later when more information may be available from a wider range of sources,” he wrote in a blog post Friday.
Google confirmed on Recode on Thursday that testing of this feature began about a week ago. At the time, a company spokesman told the point of sale that the warning only appears in a small percentage of search results on trending topics that are still in development. These notices will first be introduced in English for US users, but Google plans to expand the release of the feature “in the coming months,” the company said on Friday.
In an interview with Recode, Sullivan said that the notice isn’t meant to indicate whether the results you’re seeing are right or wrong; it’s a warning that additional information may come out later. For example, he cited suspected UFO sightings and recent trending search queries such as “why is britney on lithium” and “black triangle ufo ocean” as searches that could trigger the notice.
“When anybody does a search on Google, we’re trying to show you the most relevant, reliable information we can,” Sullivan told the outlet. “But we get a lot of things that are entirely new.”
Between the contentious 2020 U.S. presidential election and the global covid-19 pandemic, online platforms have faced a reckoning for their role in the spread of conspiracy theories and disinformation campaigns. Google is one of several tech giants working to provide more context to what people come across on the internet. Last year, it added fact-checking labels to Images found via his google images search and Knowledge panels Covid-19 vaccine search results, along with other updates to improve search literacy.
Most recently, at its annual I / O developer conference in May, Google introduced a new label for search results – “About this result” – to give US users important information about the sources displayed. CNN reported. The company also said it is working with Wikipedia to incorporate news capabilities to provide background information to users on websites, including brief descriptions.