Google Tweaking Search Algorithm, Adding New Features


Google's Search tool has seen a number of improvements to its algorithm aimed at fighting specific issues over the years, and the newest tweaks, aimed at finding and shooting down fake news, come alongside the announcement of two new features meant to help users give Google feedback on results, and to help with transparency in Search results. In order to combat the roughly 0.25% of search queries each day that are reported as turning up content that's offensive, false, or otherwise not useful, Google is making changes to the way they handle search result ranking, and is laying out new guidelines for their human content raters. They're also rolling out a tool to make reporting bad results and giving feedback easier, and they're publishing updated policies and service breakdowns so users can get a better sense of how their favorite Google services work.

The new guidelines for content raters are a cornerstone of the fight against offensive and factually wrong content climbing the Search rankings. While content raters still have minimal pull with each decision, their collective rating power will now be used to help weed out baseless conspiracy theories, blatantly and intentionally incorrect content, hoaxes, and offensive Search results that Google determines users weren't looking for. This will result in changes to Google's algorithms for Search in itself, but Google is also actively working to feed it more data on what kinds of results it should be demoting; previously, development of the algorithm has focused mainly on results that should be promoted, and let the content raters take care of demoting content.

On the user side, Google has introduced a new feedback tool, shown in the GIF images below, that allows users to provide feedback on both autocomplete results and Search results. Users can let Google know if a result is inappropriate for any reason, and in the case of Search results, if a result is inaccurate or irrelevant. Meanwhile, documentation found in the Help Center and the How Search Works website is being updated and expanded to help users gain a better understanding of the work that goes into Search, and exactly why they may have seen a result that either offended them or was irrelevant to what they were actually searching for.


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Senior Staff Writer

Daniel has been writing for Android Headlines since 2015, and is one of the site's Senior Staff Writers. He's been living the Android life since 2010, and has been interested in technology of all sorts since childhood. His personal, educational and professional backgrounds in computer science, gaming, literature, and music leave him uniquely equipped to handle a wide range of news topics for the site. These include the likes of machine learning, Voice assistants, AI technology development news in the Android world. Contact him at [email protected]

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