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Google Search gets a great new feature to help fight misinformation

Published Mar 31st, 2022 8:18PM EDT
Google Search on iPad
Image: Teerasan/Adobe

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Google announced on Thursday a series of brand new Google Search features. They’re all meant to help users recognize trusted news sources online and avoid misinformation. The new “highly cited” label is one of the highlights. Google Search will now visually label sources of information that have been widely cited so that readers can get more context about a given topic.

Additionally, Google Search will provide updates about developing situations to users searching for news and warn them that the available information might not be complete. Similarly, Google Search will make fact-checking easier than before. It will also give users more details about their sources of information directly from the results page.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian-Ukrainian war are two examples of critical world events that sparked massive disinformation campaigns online. Fake news about these topics spreads rapidly on social media, becoming viral despite delivering factually incorrect information. That’s where Google’s new Search features might help.

The new Google Search features

The company announced the new highly cited label and the new Google Search features ahead of the International Fact-Checking Day (April 2nd). However, the highly cited feature isn’t the only new change to Google Search.

The search engine will also display a notice on search results about breaking news stories. The notification will indicate that it can take time for trusted sources to publish information. Additionally, the notices will include tips on how to evaluate information online and how to check whether a source is trusted or not.

On top of that, Google Search will display fact-checking data about the topic. The results will display snippets of information, providing more information about a claim. Google News will also show fact-checked information from independent publishers from your region about the day’s top stories.

Finally, Google Search results will also let users access more information about a news source. Any user can quickly inspect a website they haven’t used before. Just look for the “About This Result” feature available in the three dots menu.

Google Search Highly Cited label
Google Search highly cited label example. Image source: Google

How the highly cited label works

The highly cited label is a feature that will appear on mobile devices in the US for English searches initially. The feature will roll out to other markets in the coming weeks.

The animation above shows that the highly cited label will provide a visual cue to the Google Search user, drawing attention to trusted news sources.

That way, people searching for specific information online, including news about recent events, can spot the sources that provided original stories that other websites picked up. As a result, Google Search users will be able to quickly access the original take and get additional context on the matter at hand.

The highly cited label will appear on Google Search Top Stories, Google explained. “You will be able to find it on anything from an investigative article, to an interview, an announcement, a press release or a local news story, as long as other publishers indicate its relevance by linking to it,” the company said.

For more information about Google’s highly cited feature, you can check Google’s announcement at this link.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.