Google Search Will Stop Telling You When Snoopy Killed Abe Lincoln

The team behind Google Search is replacing its featured snippets – text boxes that sometimes spread misinformation when offering help. The company announced an update that is supposed to make answers more accurate and avoid the problem of false premises, or questions where no sure-sounding answer makes sense. It’s paired with a new partnership on information literacy lesson plans for middle- and high-school students, along with expanding Google’s “About this result” option and warnings for low-quality data zeros.

Snippets show up under many searches, but because they seem to answer questions directly by quoting pages, they can backfire in ways that standard query responses don’t. In a presentation to reporters, Google presented some examples of these problems and explained how it is trying to fix them. When you search for how long it takes for light to reach Earth from the Sun, for example, Google offered a snippet on a point that highlights the distance from Pluto instead.

The solution, according to Search VP Pandu Nayak, lies in finding consensus: facts that match many of the top search results. In a call with reporters, Nayak clarified that this consensus check is derived from pages that Google has already designated as high-quality, something that Google hopes is the equivalent of a Google bombing. Snippet can be escaped. “It doesn’t establish that something is trustworthy, it just looks at top results,” says Nayak. But by looking at several pages that Google already relies on, then trying to find similarities, it hopes it can avoid uncovering false details.

A caveat to “how to get in touch with the Illuminati” on a Google search.

A separate problem is the “wrong premise” issue, a phenomenon where Google tries to be a bit very Assistant with excerpts. Over the years, if you entered a major question about something that never happened, Google has often offered snippets that confirm its factuality, from a semi-related page to an out-of-touch References draw text excerpts. For example, the search team has the example, “When did Snoopy kill Abraham Lincoln,” which at one time presented the date of Lincoln’s death in an excerpt. Google calls these cases “not very common,” but says it’s training its systems to better recognize them and isn’t offering a featured snippet, and it promises. That the incidents of these inappropriate attendances have come down by 40 percent.

This doesn’t necessarily solve every problem with snippets. Nayak acknowledged that no system would help with a problem identified last year where Google offered the opposite of good advice Listing a series of “don’ts” as a guide on what to do, when dealing with seizures. “This sort of thing is really about making sure that our underlying algorithms extract context appropriately enough,” says Nayak, who adds that Google is continuing to make improvements that could prevent similar problems. .

But the goal is to obfuscate snippets less frequently and increase confidence in search results, something that Google’s other changes emphasize. For almost a year now, Google has been warning about unreliable search results that can result in breaking news situations. It is now expanding to the more common situations where it determines there are no high-quality results for a search, adding an advice before letting people scroll down the page to see the results. This doesn’t prevent anyone from viewing the content, but it ideally helps manage expectations about the reliability of the information.

Google is also expanding “About this page,” which lets you see details about the website from which a given result comes. The option has been available on Search until now, but it’s now launching in Google’s iOS app in English — you can swipe up while browsing any page through the app to learn more details about it, theoretically. can help you measure its reliability. The system is launching later this year on Android and in other languages ​​in the coming months.

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