Google to warn users about unreliable information during 'rapidly evolving' events

Google will start warning users about potentially unreliable information for search results during breaking news or emerging topics, the company said Friday. 

The search engine said its systems have been trained to now detect when a topic is rapidly evolving and a “range of sources hasn’t yet weighed in,” according to a blog post. 

In those cases, Google will show users a notice indicating to check back later when more information may be available. 


“While Google Search will always be there with the most useful results we can provide, sometimes the reliable information you’re searching for just isn’t online yet. This can be particularly true for breaking news or emerging topics, when the information that’s published first may not be the most reliable,” Danny Sullivan, Google’s public liaison for search, said in a blog post. 

In an example included in the post, the notice appears under a search for “ufo filmed traveling 106 mph.” Under the search, before the results, there is a box with a notification stating “It looks like these results are changing quickly” and that “it can sometimes take time or results to be added by reliable sources.” 

The update comes as Google, along with other tech platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, have come under scrutiny over the spread of misinformation especially during the coronavirus pandemic and 2020 presidential election. 

Google’s latest update follows its launch last year of notices that tell users when Google has not been able to find any results that match a result well. 

The company also recently launched an “About This Result” panel that lets users find information about sources they find on Google Search in an effort the company said helps users make “a more informed decision” about the sites they visit.

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