Dated April 25, 2017, an update document on Search quality was released by Google on the Google Blog Titled,
“Our latest quality improvements for Search”
Early that morning Gary Illyes tweeted about the updated document release and it does seem to indicate that there are some brand new quality factors in place this week. Another type of “Fred” update as Gary had coined the last before it became more officially known. At that time he joked that we should just call them all Fred. So we have dubbed this update “Fake News Fred” #FakeNewsFred See Tweet below.
The document reveals some interesting facets to Google’s latest focus for quality in Google search results.
Not the least of which is the statement that they are making these implementations today (April 25, 2017)
With that longer-term effort in mind, today we’re taking the next step toward continuing to surface more high-quality content from the web. This includes improvements in Search ranking, easier ways for people to provide direct feedback, and greater transparency around how Search works.
The target toward eliminating or penalizing Fake News seems like an honorable endeavor except that we don’t really know how or who determines what is quality, real news and what Google deems to not be truthful or fake news, They state:
Our algorithms help identify reliable sources from the hundreds of billions of pages in our index. However, it’s become very apparent that a small set of queries in our daily traffic (around 0.25 percent), have been returning offensive or clearly misleading content, which is not what people are looking for. To help prevent the spread of such content for this subset of queries, we’ve improved our evaluation methods and made algorithmic updates to surface more authoritative content.”
They are using algorithms to de-rank or demote offensive pages:
We’ve adjusted our signals to help surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content, so that issues similar to the Holocaust denial results that we saw back in December are less likely to appear.”
In December it was discovered that searches for “did the Holocaust happen?” were returning results that had a Neo-Nazi group that denies the Holocaust at the top of the results page. This caused an uproar because the search results actually favored a site known for incorrect historical data and conclusions. This comparison helps us to easily see the need for some search …censoring (demoting), however, it does raise other questions.
What if Google happens to disagree on an important subject and begins to demote the side they believe to be offensive or incorrect. This could become dangerous as the sheer volumes of search information Google provides is staggering and is the undisputed champion of search, Therefore can influence what information people are made privy to on any given topic.
Google is adding feedback capabilities into search prediction results as well. IE. if you see something you don’t like, in the predicition list, you can now easily blow the whistle and report it.