Google will explain why Search users see specific results
Google is finally going to provide context about why its algorithms displayed the search results that you see. The search giant will add this information to the "About This Result" feature introduced earlier this year. Google explained that the idea is to help users unfamiliar with its search system understand what goes on behind the scenes. This should help people use Search more effectively.
In a blog post announcing the latest addition to Search, Google said that a new "About This Result" panel will display the simplest factors that affect how search results are sorted and displayed. The panel is accessible by clicking the three dots on the corner of a search result. Google has begun rolling out the feature for English webpage users in the US.
Each search result's panel will have a section detailing the "matching keywords" that led to the result being put forth. Another section called "related terms" would suggest other keywords that help users optimize their search to go wider or narrower. Google will also include tips and suggestions to make searches specific, such as by putting quotation marks around search phrases.
Google debuted the "About This Result" panel in February this year but back then, it didn't contain information to be of much use. Reports suggest that at the time, it just highlighted the web page source, mentioned whether the search result was secure, and specified if the search result was organic or a link to a paid advertisement.
In an email to Mashable India, Google claimed the panels had been used "over 100 million times". The company added, "Our early data has indicated that people are more likely to consult these panels when they are looking for important information like health". Understandably, in the age of rampant misinformation, it helps to know one's sources of information and how credible they are.
Google's claim highlights growing awareness about misinformation among Search users, at least as far as pandemic and health-related queries go. Although Google has laid bare how Search works, laymen would struggle to grasp the complicated inner workings of the system. The "About This Result" panel could be a step in the right direction, encouraging transparency and the effective use of Google's Search tools.