A Google announced that it will now have a warning for users to search for terms that lead to results that may change quickly. In this first phase, the functionality applies to results in US English, but should be extended to other languages and countries soon.
The alert appears to be focused on searches for recent or rapidly changing events. In the displayed text, the title shows that “it seems that these results are changing rapidly” and underneath a note explains that “if the topic is new, it may take some time for results from reliable sources to be added”.
One of the first people to notice Google's warning was researcher Renee DiResta, whose study focus is precisely on misinformation and how narratives spread. A few days ago, on Twitter, DiResta posted that it was the first time he had seen this response from Google Search, said it was a positive step for the company to communicate that something is new/recent and highlight that “the facts are not all known or the consensus on what happened is still to be formed”. The researcher was searching for a last-minute culture war story.
In the blog post where it announces the news, Google explains that “although Search always tries to show the most reliable results we can provide, sometimes the reliable information just isn't online yet. This is particularly true for breaking news or emerging issues, when the first published information is not the most reliable.”
Google is trying, in this way, to warn users of the scenario where there are 'data voids' or times when people with bad intentions can 'hijack' some keywords, thus conditioning the results presented in searches and serving of manipulators of public opinion.
Despite good impressions about the novelty, there are still some doubts, for example, about which sources Google considers reliable for a given search result. There is also no clear criterion on how many trustworthy sources need to be evaluated before a questionable trending news topic loses its untrustworthy label.