Google Will Start Letting You Know When You Can’t Just Google It

If you now search for a question that has no real answer — as examples, Google cited “What year did Alexander Graham Bell first write ‘Call Me Maybe’?” and “When did Snoopy assassinate Abraham Lincoln?”, although who exactly is searching for this is still unclear — Google will refrain from providing a snippet with information that’s only partially correct (previously, it showed Lincoln’s assassination date, and ignored the fact that a comic strip beagle did not, in fact, kill the former president). Google said it has reduced when snippets are triggered in instances like these by 40%, although a company spokesperson declined to share the total number of search queries that triggered them in the first place.

These improvements to snippets will also show up in the “People Also Ask” section on the search results page, Nayak said.

A final new feature that’s coming this week to people who use the Google app on iPhones and iPads, for whatever reason, instead of a browser: If you need more context about a website you’re on, such as its reviews, how widely it is cited as a source, who owns it, and more, you can swipe up from the bottom navigation bar to find out. The feature will come to Android — Google’s own operating system for phones and tablets — later this year.

Still, none of these improvements will apply to YouTube, the other big Google-owned platform where misinformation sometimes runs rampant. “Their problem is a little bit different than ours,” Nayak said, because, unlike Google Search, YouTube actually hosts videos and serves them up algorithmically. “We don’t share code bases directly. We don’t work on YouTube directly and YouTube doesn’t work on us directly.”