Google takes additional steps to limit fake and inaccurate search results

The Google Android Search app icon on OnePlus 3T

In the company’s ongoing quest to improve its signature search engine, Google today announced several new changes aimed at reducing the number of fake news results that show up on its website.

To start, the company has updated its Search Quality Rater Guidelines to provide clearer examples of low-quality results. This document provides guidance that real people use to test and rank the company’s search results. Google then uses the data it collects from those testers to refine how its search algorithm works. As such, Google promises it will get better at filtering out fake news in weeks and months to come.

Moving forward, the company has also made it easier for Search users to flag inappropriate autocomplete results and featured snippets, with a link that allows them to report suggestions directly from the results page.

Finally, in an effort to be more transparent, Google has updated its help center page to detail its new content removal policies. The company has also launched a new “how search works” website that details the inner workings of its search engine.

Google’s aim here is to avoid situations like the one the happened in December when the top result for the query “did the Holocaust happen?” came from a white supremacist website Stormfront. Ben Gomes, vice-president of engineering at Google, promises that such results “are less likely to appear” in the future.

Today’s announcement is just the latest move Google has made towards combating fake news appearing on its search engine. Earlier this month, the company added new fact-checking cards to both Search and News results. Sourced from PolitiFact and Snopes, the cards detail a claim, where it came from and, most importantly, its veracity. The feature is available to Canadian Search and News users.