On Tuesday morning, Google announced some major changes meant to fight the fake news and hate speech that keep polluting its search results. The Google update, codenamed “Project Owl,” gives consumers two new ways to report what they perceive as problems in the search results. The company is also using teams of humans as part of an effort to get its algorithms to show more reliable information. Here’s a plain English Q&A about the changes and what they mean to you.
The search giant has been under fire for search results that show false, offensive, or outrageous information about certain topics. For instance, Google prominently displayed links to pro-Nazi sites in response to queries about the Holocaust. Or when people started typing phrases about women or racial groups, Google would suggest queries like “Why are women so dumb?” Needless to say this got a lot of negative media attention. Even though Google does not like interfering with its algorithms—which are supposed to find the most helpful answers to a given topic—the problem became big enough Google decided to take action. READ MORE