Google strengthens quality assurance measures for search results

Google strengthens quality assurance measures for search results

Google will subject its search results to stronger quality arance measures in the future. Google announced this on Thursday. The changes will mainly affect the content that appears in highlighted areas on the results page.

The first is the fact box ("knowledge panel"), which appears whenever a person, place or other object ("Entity") are recognized. On the other hand, the displayed headlines ("featured snippets") and the auto-complete function ("Autocomplete") are subject to tightly defined guidelines, said Google executive David Graff.

Reliable search results

Users needed to be able to rely on the search results, said Google Vice President Pandu Nayak, who leads the "Search Quality Team" . "In a year when access to reliable information is more important than ever – from COVID-19 to natural disasters to important moments of civic involvement around the world – our longstanding commitment to quality remains at the core of our mission to make the world’s information accessible and usable."

The list of traditional search results, on the other hand, will not be subject to the guidelines, Graff emphasized. "You can type anything in the search slot. And we provide matching results." In the case of the fact box, which often displays information from Wikipedia, a special anti-vandalism program is designed to ensure that no false information appears prominently on the search results page as a result of manipulation.

The auto-complete feature leaves out some topics. For example, in the search "Donations for …" no specific candidate is proposed. In Germany, this function was also the subject of legal disputes several times in the past, because the system suggested defamatory terms for the completion of search queries.

With AI and human reviewers to more quality

In order to improve the quality of the search engine, Google uses over 10.000 human reviewers to evaluate search results. These ratings had no direct influence on a particular search result, but served as learning material for the artificial intelligence with which Google’s algorithms were trained. The focus is on topics that have an impact on the user’s finances or health ("Your Money – Your Life").

Cathy Edwards, vice president in charge of the technical aspects of the search function, said improved algorithms have given Google the time it needs to identify an explosive news situation ("Breaking News") from 40 minutes a few years ago to 5 minutes now. On the eve of the presidential election in the USA on November 3. November, they will take their time. On the Google pages, a winner would only be announced when it was clear beyond doubt. It also relied on information from the AP news agency.

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