Google Home Reportedly Has A Fake News Problem

Google Home reportedly has a fake news problem according to some recent reports that the Google Assistant-powered smart speaker has been kicking back results with incorrect information about various topics when asked. The reports originate from a series of users who are posting the results up on the web, with one user showcasing that their Google Home unit stated that Obama may have been planning a coup and that he may have been "in bed with the Communist Chinese." While these instances aren't true, it still poses a problem for users who may choose to ask it a specific query only to receive erroneous results.

According to Google themselves the issues are popping up due to the Feature Snippets functionality within Google Search. Featured Snippets was designed by Google to give users quick facts after asking a question and it uses algorithms to determine a match automatically to the given questions that are asked by users, which would naturally pair up well with something like Google Home as users would expect answers quickly, although the problem is that some of the websites that are actually being featured are third-party sites and some of these sites have misleading information on their content, which unfortunately is resulting in Google Home grabbing some of this information and listing it off.

Featured Snippets isn't a feature that's going to go away, but that doesn't mean that Google Home will continue to give users the same exact fake news results all of the time, as Google states that they actively work to remove snippets that mislead users with incorrect details as soon as they're made aware of their existence, such as the information that Google Home was giving out about Obama. The downside is that Featured Snippets can still end up grabbing onto other fake news in the future unless Google comes up with some way to ensure that this doesn't happen. If no changes are made to the actual algorithms that grab information for Featured Snippets, all Google can do is remove snippets as they show up, but that won't necessarily stop fake news from popping up like this again, as other third-party sites could at some point be featured which contain misleading details. For many users having these sorts of results kicked back may not be more than an interesting occurrence, but Google is also doing its best to make sure that no one is offended by the fake news.

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Justin Diaz

Justin has written for Android Headlines since 2012 and currently adopts a Games Editor role with a specific focus on mobile gaming and game-streaming services. Prior to the move to Android Headlines Justin spent almost eight years working directly within the wireless industry. Contact him at [email protected]
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