Unfortunately we live in an age where fake news and hate speech have become a major issue. So much so that the world’s largest search engine, Google, has introduced a new project to combat the situation. On Tuesday April 25th, Google announced the release of Project Owl, aimed at improving the quality of search for all users. Users now have the option to report possible problems within search results.
Why the new project?
Recently Google has caught some negative press for showing absurd and offensive information within their search. Some examples of included showing pro-Nazi related websites when searches for the Holocaust were conducted. Also when users started searches with something along the lines of “why do black people…” or “why do women…” Google’s predictive search would return racist or sexist results. This did not sit well with users and Google has been forced to monitor these things.
How can users report issues to Google?
The biggest additional from the Google Owl Project is how users can report on Google’s auto-complete function. When a search is started Google auto-fills what they believe the user is searching for. If the search engine is providing inappropriate searches users can click to report the information. Google will ask for a bit of information on what is being reported, such as sexually explicit, violent, or hateful.
Google plans to emphasize authoritative content
The other big part of the Project Owl is how the search engine plans to give more weight to authoritative information. This basically means they plan to bury fake news and move authoritative and reputable sites higher up the search results. In the past Google would rank a site based on popularity, which would take in many different metrics, and sometimes the information provided by the sites would be inaccurate.
Determining which sites are authoritative comes down to a human’s opinion. Google has been utilizing users to review and score sites depending on information the sites offer. These reports by the users are aimed to help improve the Google’s algorithms. By doing so will help eliminate fake news, misleading information, and hateful or derogatory sites.
It will be a waiting process to see what sites benefit from the recent update. Also, with that being said Google has mentioned this will be something that will take time and will roll out gradually. Don’t expect to see authoritative sites seeing a huge boost in traffic or rankings right away. As always, if your site is adding high quality, helpful, entertaining content that adds value to the web then you won’t see a drop in traffic.