In this day and age where internet sites like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Wikipedia and a whole lot of others are just indispensable to us and we cannot supposedly be thinking of having to work and function without them, is it okay to doubt their credibility? Can these highly trusted web resources make mistakes as well? Well, they definitely do and Google just went on to “Highlight” that glitch even further.
Google is the largest search engine in the world and it has made huge strides in helping index vast amounts of information that help us resolve our queries no matter how complex or absurd they may be, but even Google can fumble sometimes, even with all those powerful ranking signals, animal named updates, Artificial Intelligence and strict criterions at its disposal.
Google’s Good Intentions:
Google puts all its efforts into making the user benefit with the most relevant results possible for each and every search query, so to ease up the user even more, it started featuring a “Highlighted Box” at the top of a lot of search results which supposedly told us the perfect answer for our naïve curiosities. This Box or the “Best Answer Box” as I am inclined to call it, is picked automatically by Google’s Search Engine bots and provided to the user, so that the user can read it, satisfy its curiosity and move on, making the Search Engine appear even more helpful than it ever has been, but Google was supposedly taken for a ride by this very feature, it so willingly incorporated at the coveted top of its rankings.
The President of the United States of America is a highly respectable position and relaying any news about it would require a high amount of authenticity if you are a big company, but when you type “Presidents in the Ku Klux Klan,” which represents that you are inquiring about Presidents getting involved with the infamous white supremacist group, you get this by Google’s powerful search engine:
This is quite a result! The result shows a definite list mentioning four different US Presidents as being members of the Ku Klux Klan and all of this is being done by Google, which believes that this is the perfect result for the query we put in. This might come off as quite shocking because we see Google as being one of the most, if not the most authentic information relaying source on the web. Google is featuring a snippet from an article that has no substantiated base in authenticity as no US President has been a member of Ku Klux Klan up till now.
How can it be fixed?
More than 5 billion search queries are processed each day by Google and to check and verify each result and every single feature is downright impossible so turning this “Best Answer Box” off might seem like an option but considering the fact that it helps so many other users, Google won’t let it go completely. But we can still definitely improve on this condition, if not the result itself.
What we need to do is to understand that Google is just a search engine after all and its primary purpose is to index all kinds of information found on the web and then to show it to us when we want to know the best possible answers to a certain query. Google has done a great job of doing this up till now, however, there still remain glitches in the system. After all, it’s just a search engine even if it’s a highly sophisticated one. The credibility of the news or information that one can get from Google can be questioned at times for the greater benefit of the user.
It looks like even one of the most important and influential companies in the world can get it wrong sometimes and not everything we make is perfect.