Google Updates Search, News To Help Users Evaluate Sources’ Credibility
Google announced two new features designed to help U.S.-based and all English-language searchers evaluate the credibility of news sources and their claims.
One is a new “highly cited label” that will soon appear in Top Stories in Google mobile search results. The label is designed to help searchers easily locate the original source of a story that has been frequently cited by other news sources.
Google described this as part of its efforts to “elevate original reporting” to enable users to “discover and engage with the publishers and journalists whose work brings unique value to a story” and find the “most helpful or relevant information for a news story.”
Searchers “will be able to find it on anything from an investigative article, to an interview, an announcement, a press release or a local news story, as long as other publishers indicate its relevance by linking to it,” the company said on its blog.
The highly cited label will launch soon on mobile in English for the U.S. and roll out globally in coming weeks.
The other change involves enhancing the “about this result” feature for “rapidly evolving topics.”
“About this result,” introduced in February 2021, is a feature that searchers can click on to learn the source of information.
“Rapidly evolving topics,” launched last June, cautions searchers about the potential unreliability of newly emerging topics, with a message stating: “It looks like these results are changing quickly. If this topic is new, it can sometimes take time for results to be added by reliable sources.”
Now, with searches in English in the U.S., the notices also include tips to help searchers evaluate information, reminding them that they can check whether a source is trusted on a particular topic, or come back later, when there is more information available.
Google also offers a new resource page with pointers to help searchers navigate the information they are finding online, based on research from “information literacy experts.”
The page reminds users that they can vet new information by taking steps such as doing a search about the author of new content, or checking the date of publication to make sure it’s still relevant.