Google LLC is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online.
Advertising technologies, search engines, cloud computing, software, and hardware. It is considered one of the Big Four technology companies,
Google is changing its news search algorithms again, in a move that’s sure to annoy everybody.
Today’s announcement is that the company is going to try to emphasize “original reporting,” which will “elevate” in its search results.
Google’s vice president of news Richard Gingras, explained some of the changes that have been made in google.
The update to the search engine’s guidelines will help it better recognize original reports and make them more visible to the internet.
Google’s specific explanation
Google has indeed been more likely to “show the latest and most comprehensive version of a story” in recent years.
This often means that the follow-up stories to big news rank higher than the original. Still, even assuming Google can get all that right (and that’s a big “if”). that doesn’t mean this change won’t stir up some controversy.
Not all good reporting is just breaking news. Publications often synthesize multiple different news sources to give readers the bigger picture.
Provide follow-up reporting that’s more thoughtful than the original, cut through the noise and spin to get to the heart of a story, or any number of other not-as-fast attempts to bring more truth and more meaning to readers.
There might be other unintended consequences, as often happens when a big tech company changes the software that affects the industries that are connected to it.
For example, it could become lucrative to get up breaking news even faster, before it’s been properly vetted and confirmed. If originality matters more than accuracy, we have a problem.
“While we typically show the latest and most comprehensive version of a story in news results, we’ve made changes to our products globally to highlight articles that we identify as significant original reporting. Such articles may stay in a highly visible position longer. This prominence allows users to view the original reporting while also looking at more recent articles alongside it”.
“There is no absolute definition of original reporting, nor is there an absolute standard for establishing how original a given article is. It can mean different things to different newsrooms and publishers at different times, so our efforts will constantly evolve as we work to understand the life cycle of a story”.
He said that stories that are critically important and labor-intensive — requiring experienced investigative skills, for example — would be promoted.
To do so, it has distributed new instructions to its cadre of 10,000+ human reviewers, whose feedback helps train the Google algorithm that actually delivers search rankings.
It will annoy everybody because fundamentally nobody outside Google really knows exactly what the repercussions of this change will be (and maybe people inside Google don’t know either).
Sometimes these search changes are minor, other times these announcements fundamentally change the business models of hundreds of websites.
Plus, anytime a big tech company gets anywhere near the idea of ranking news these days, all hell breaks loose.
does attempt to address some of these concerns; the company says it’s asking human raters to to take into account a publisher’s reputation for providing quality reporting.
And elevate a story when it “provides information that would not otherwise have been known had the article not revealed it,” with an eye for “original, in-depth, and investigative reporting” in particular. Those stories are rarely fast.
But — again — even if you assume that Google’s algorithm will correctly identify breaking news, correctly put it up top, correctly put valuable related articles high up on the page.
And none of that will incentivize bad actors to do bad things — today’s changes will still cause angst, President Trump, amongst many others.
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It is not going to give Google the benefit of the doubt. And the nuances involved in the technical details of Google’s changes are guaranteed to get lost should anyone in Congress take umbrage over them.
Google’s human reviewers review Google’s search results and grade their accuracy, but they don’t directly show anybody search results — only the algorithm can do that.
It seems highly unlikely that discussion would translate well in a hearing.