Starting with Featured Snippet callouts, Google has announced a series of changes aimed at enhancing information quality and user literacy in Search.
For selected inquiries with short answers, Google displays a “Featured Snippet” at the top of the search results page. The focus of this “major innovation to increase the quality” is on the one-word (yes/no) or brief sentence callouts.
In order to determine if there is widespread agreement for a Snippet callout, Google used its Multitask Unified Model (MUM).
“Our systems can check snippet callouts (the word or words called out above the featured snippet in a larger font) against other high-quality sources on the web, to see if there’s a general consensus for that callout, even if sources use different words or concepts to describe the same thing.”
Google Search is also improving its ability to decide whether or not to display Featured Snippets, particularly in response to “false premises.”
“This is particularly helpful for questions where there is no answer: for example, a recent search for “when did snoopy assassinate Abraham Lincoln” provided a snippet highlighting an accurate date and information about Lincoln’s assassination, but this clearly isn’t the most helpful way to display this result,” Google went on to say.
About this result, which is part of Google’s information literacy initiative, is expanding into eight new languages this year: Portuguese (PT), French (FR), Italian (IT), German (DE), Dutch (NL), Spanish (ES), Japanese (JP), and Indonesian (ID).
Over 2.4 billion people have used this feature since it was introduced last year to learn more about a website before they visit. The new About This results include previously unavailable data, such as “how widely a source is circulated,” “online reviews about a source or company,” “if a company is owned by another entity,” and “when Google’s systems can’t identify much data about a source.” It’s also been made more convenient on the Google app (for iOS) by replacing the traditional “three dots” menu with a swipe up feature.
When Google’s “systems don’t have high confidence in the overall quality of the results offered for the search,” a content advisory will now appear. You may still see the results when scrolling down.