08 Jun Google ‘Project Owl’ A Three Pronged Attack on Fake News and Problematic Content
Google, one of the leading search engines globally knows they have a search quality problem. Since November last year, the search engine has been plagued with disturbing answers, fake news and offensive search suggestions. Consequently, the company introduced “Project Owl” which plans to address these issues by implementing three specific actions.
The company is launching:
- Emphasis on authoritative content as a way of improving search quality
- A new feedback form for suggestions and formal policies on why some of the suggestions should be removed
- A new form for Featured Snippet answers
Project Owl & problematic content
Problematic searches refer to the content that people are creating that addresses certain world views without considering the actual facts. Furthermore, people are constantly searching for rumors, slurs, urban myths and derogatory topics which end up showing offensive search suggestions on the search engine. These problematic searches involve the fake news and biased content i.e. rumors, myths and conspiracies. When such content appears on the world’s greatest search engine, they pose a threat to its reliability.
- Improving auto complete search suggestions
Google introduced the auto complete function to save the users’ time by suggesting the full word they might be searching for. These suggestions are derived from the most frequently searched topics and they can end up drawing them away from what they were really searching in the first place. As a way of addressing this challenge, Google launched a limited test which allows people to report the offensive searches suggestions they don’t like.
- Improving ‘Featured Snippets’ answers
Over the past few months, Google has been criticized for some of its ‘Featured Snippets.’ Featured snippets appear when Google elevates it search results above all the other results. The search engine does this in scenarios where they assume that a specific result answers a search question in a better way than the others. Google plans to address these problematic featured snippets with the introduction of improved feedback forms which have many options for users.
- More emphasis on authoritative content
The other approach that Google hopes will attack the problematic snippets is by improving its search quality to display more authoritative content. The introduction of this new feature implies that the results displayed are likely to get better. The implementation began in December last year when the company made a change to how its search algorithm works.