In light of recent events such as earthquakes, hurricanes, as well as other crises, Google has just made it known that they have again made algorithm changes. In response to these real-life crises, Google’s algorithm can now recognize when a bad event is taking place.
When that said event is taking place, Google will increase the weight of “authority” signals in an effort to surface the most accurate information about the crisis occurring. With the rise in school shootings in the US being noted as a reason for the algorithm update it makes sense as during these times of panic, there is a lot of misinformation that spreads. Google’s motive is to slow the snowball effect of misinformation rather than to remove it from search engine results completely.
Pandu Nayak, a senior engineer at Google, explains that ridding the individual pages does nothing for the actual misinformation problem.
“… what we really want to do is to go down and understand why this problem occurred in the first place. Like, what was that in our algorithms that caused this problem to occur? And you get to the heart of the problem, you fix that, and now, even if you don’t solve the whole iceberg, you solve a large part of the iceberg.”
Moving forward, Google will serve results from the most authoritative sources as determined by its quality raters when searching for information about a crisis that is currently unfolding. For example, with the recent earthquakes that have been occurring in California, Google would boost the authoritative breaking news articles for searches related to earthquakes, as opposed to informational, evergreen articles about the subject. Once a crisis has subsided, Google’s search algorithm will return to normal.
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