Since time immemorial (1998) Google's bread, butter, and raison d'être has been search. Now Google's changing the way search works a bit, empowering users by adding new feedback tools and changing results from their search ranking to bring you more relevant and accurate information. With these changes users should see less in the way of so-called "fake news" and other non-factual content (excluding searches for that material), and more accurate and relevant information pertaining to their search.


The biggest user-facing change you are likely to see is probably the new feedback link. It allows users to tag snippets — the short bits of text you might see that directly answer questions posed in a search — or autocomplete results as being accurate, inaccurate, offensive, or just disliked. There's no telling yet exactly how Google may or may not use the data collected via reports, but at a minimum it may go some way to prevent a few of the problems they've seen. I know in the past I've seen snippets come up that are either entirely incorrect or totally unrelated to a search. Hopefully this doesn't just present a new vector for further rank manipulation in autocomplete, though.


The changes to search sorting are pretty straightforward. Google's had some problems in the past with sites manipulating how they appear on results. After all, anything that's governed by a set of rules can be gamed using those rules. Even without that Google's had some problems with factually inaccurate results appearing on top of results. They'll be making new changes to ranking to avoid that sort of thing in the future, and they're redoubling their efforts with Google's human oversight in determining quality of results.

Their content policy has been updated with the details, and their educational portal on how their Search works has also been changed. Until we see how searches are changed there's no way to know if the new tools might open another means for manipulation of results. While it's possible some might use it as a means of censorship or calumny, hopefully the system is robust enough to resist that type of manipulation. Either way, we shall see.