Google's 'Project Owl' to curb fake news in its Search

Google is updating its search to demote fake news

Results would allow Google to change the way pages were ranked in search results.

Google said that it will take action to reduce the amount of fake news and content that shows up in its search results. (Facebook launched similar tools earlier this year, along with tips to help you spot fake news.) This will help teach Google's search algorithms to weed out hoaxes and, in theory, keep them buried in search results.

In particular, he said, many groups and organisations were using "fake news" to help spread "blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information".

Additionally, Google will make it easier for users to flag inappropriate "auto-complete" suggestions and "snippets" of the website after some past embarrassments.

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"The content that appears in these features is generated algorithmically and is a reflection of what people are searching for and what's available on the web".

For the first time Google is revealing some of the changes it's made to reign in fake news.

Ben Gomes, Google's vice president of engineering, said the company only recently began focusing on the issue, which found its way to the epicenter of the 2016 presidential election.

The company notes that the fake news problem is fairly limited in search, with 0.25 percent of queries returning offensive or clearly misleading content. In such a scenario, it is important for the gatekeepers like Google and Facebook to provide effective checks against such false news circulating and misleading the public.

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"We were highlighting low-quality content in search results", he said in a Bloomberg Technology interview Tuesday. However, even that figure can assume alarming proportions what with Google alone accounting for over a billion online searches every day.

In addition to relying on human power, Google has made changes to its ranking system "to help surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content".

Watch this space for latest news on Google products. The problem has changed its shape a little but Google is still committed towards its long-term efforts of improving upon the info displayed in any user's search results.

Although it also sells ads on its other services and independently owned websites, Google still makes most of its money from the marketing links posted alongside its search results.

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The existing feedback option for Featured Snippets has been updated to let users report examples of bogus, hateful, and vulgar information in the boxes. "These feedbacks would be helpful to us in improving our algorithms", Gomes added.

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