Google is investing in new efforts to ward off vandalism in search results and ensure information remains relevant and reliable.
In addition, Google has provided details about measures already in place to get breaking news indexed many times faster than before.
Here’s more of what was announced today in relation to improving information quality in search and news results.
Breaking News Delivered Faster
Google has developed an intelligence desk that actively monitors and identifies potential information threats.
This is an extension of Google’s crisis response team, which has tracked events around the world in real-time for years already.
“The Intelligence Desk is a global team of analysts monitoring news events 24/7, spanning natural disasters and crises, breaking news moments and the latest developments in ongoing topics like COVID.
When events occur, our analysts collect data about how our systems are responding and compile reports about narratives that are emerging, like new claims about COVID treatments.”
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Reports from Google’s Intelligence Desk are used to ensure its systems are working as intended for the full range of topics people search for.
This effort has lead to a considerable improvement to how Google delivers information for breaking news and crises.
Now, Google’s systems can automatically recognize breaking news results in a matter of minutes – improved from 40 minutes in years past.
Google says this automated system is accurate and returns the most authoritative information available.
More Accurate Information in Knowledge Graph Panels
Information in Knowledge Graph panels are more accurate as a result of partnerships with government agencies, health organizations, and Wikipedia.
“For COVID-19, we worked with health organizations around the world to provide local guidance and information to keep people safe.
To respond to emerging information needs, like the surge we saw in people searching for unemployment benefits, we provide easy access to information right from government agencies in the U.S. and other countries.”
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As you may have noticed from time to time, Wikipedia information in Knowledge Panels are the target of vandalism.
This happens when Wikipedia pages are edited to intentionally provide false or misleading information.
Google can now detect 99% of Wikipedia vandalism cases, which allows its team to take action quickly.
Improvements to Fact Checks
Google assists searchers with identifying false information through the use of fact checks in search results.
So far this year, searchers have seen fact checks in Google search results over 4 billion times. That’s more than all of 2019 combined.
Google is investing in making its fact checking system even more reliable by donating $6.5 million to organizations and nonprofits that specialize in fact checks.
In addition, Google has begun using BERT to improve the matching between news stories and available fact checks.
This allows Google’s systems to better understand whether a fact check claim is related to the central topic of the story.
Google then displays the fact checks prominently in the ‘Full Coverage’ section of news stories – a feature that provides full context from a variety of sources.
Greater Protections for Search Features
Google has policies in place for what can appear in organic search results, as well as search features.
Autocomplete, for example, has policies around hateful and inappropriate predictions from being suggested.
Google is improving its automated systems for autocomplete to not show predications if it determines the query may not lead to reliable content.
Other Highlights From Today’s Announcements
Google held a conference call in which I, along with many other reporters, got to hear Google deliver today’s announcements first-hand.
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Here are some other notable details from the call:
- 25 billion spammy pages are detected every day
- 15% of all queries have never been searched for before (the greatest amount to date)
- Google’s search rater guidelines are the “North Star” for understanding what algorithms are trying to do when ranking search results.
- Google has 10,000 search quality raters around the world, including some in every state in the US
- Google runs 1,000 search quality tests per day
- Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (EAT) are weighted more heavily for YMYL (your money your life) queries
- COVID-19 is the biggest topic in the history of Google Trends