Google’s New Search Notification: Protecting Users from New, Unreliable Results

Google offices

Google realises that new search results may not always be the most reliable search results and it’s an issue they are tackling head on. 

It is a feature that is still in the testing phase, but Google is developing a way to notify users when their query results are new, and potentially unreliable.

That warning is in the form of a notice, and as things stand it reads like this:

“It looks like these results are changing quickly. If this topic is new, it can sometimes take time for results to be added by reliable sources.”

Google’s very own Public Liaison Danny Sullivan had this to say in reply to VOX who ran the story recently.

“When anybody does a search on Google, we’re trying to show you the most relevant, reliable information we can, but we get a lot of things that are entirely new.”

Time, it seems is an important factor when building search results that are as reliable as possible at times when some sites may have scrambled to create content that might not be entirely trustworthy, factually correct or reliable.

This isn’t the first time Google have stepped into the ring to battle unreliable results; In April 2020 they implemented a feature notifying users when their searches failed to provide good results. The goal of this latest feature is much the same:

Google may not currently have the best answer; they are fully aware of it and would like the user to be aware of it too.

For trending topics, breaking news and local stories, this new feature may prove useful, Danny mentions one, notable example:

“Someone had gotten this police report video released out in Wales, and it’s had a little bit of press coverage. But there’s still not a lot about it,” Sullivan told Vox. “But people are probably searching for it, they may be going around on social media — so we can tell it’s starting to trend. And we can also tell that there’s not a lot of necessarily great stuff that’s out there (for searchers). And we also think that maybe new stuff will come along.”

The new warning makes it clear in such cases; what Google considers to be reliable content on a new topic is missing in the current index. Results will be better with the arrival of more information.

Ideally, this Search Engine Results Page (SERP) warning will help users seeking more information around potentially sensitive new topics, or ones which might even affect them personally; to avoid falling prey to spam, clickbait and potentially fake information sites.

Google’s admission that time is a crucial factor in displaying trustworthy results, along with their demonstrable knowledge when the search engine giant itself may not be showing the best results is impressive, highlighted just how intelligent its algorithm can be along with the impact at an individual level when searches fail.