News hardware Google Will Soon Stop Answering Your Dumb Questions
To fight against misinformation, Google, through an update, will soon reduce the number of answers for nonsensical questions that Internet users ask via the search engine.
Internet: kingdom of idiocy
If you’re a big user of the Internet and social networks, you’ve probably come across some silly questions, like:
- Can I remove a tick with my teeth?
- Why are fire trucks red?
- How to get a date?
- Who is the King of the United States?
Well we learn today thanks to the DailyMail that this may well be the last time you come across these kinds of questions, or rather the answers to these questions. The search engine wants to review its “featured excerpts” functionality to allow Internet users to get real good answers to their questions.
Because yes, Google may have science almost infused, but it is still perfectible. Take for example. Some time ago, to the question: “Why are fire trucks red?”the search engine featured the following response:
Because they have eight wheels and four people inside, four plus eight is twelve, there are twelve inches in a foot, and a foot is sovereign, Queen Elizabeth being a sovereign and also a ship, a ship which has sailed the seas. In the sea there are fish, but the fish have fins, knowing that the Finns fought the Russians, and that the Russians are dressed in red. Fire trucks are red! – Daily Mail.
Suffice to say that this result is not the most convincing. And the worst part of all this is that the list of questions with preposterous answers is very, very long. Some are quite funny (like this one), but others are much less laughable.
Fight more effectively against misinformation
As you will have understood, it is therefore in a desire to fight misinformation that Google is going to give its “featured snippets” feature a well-deserved update. The objective: to provide more coherent answers and explanations as well as to avoid the proliferation of fake news. In a post published by Google, Pandu Nayak, the vice president in charge of the search engine, writes:
We have configured our systems to better detect these types of false information. With this update we have reduced the triggering of erroneous featured snippets by 40%. In addition to designing systems to better return high-quality information, we’re also building information literacy features in Google Search that help people evaluate information whether they found it on social media or in conversations with family or friends.
Sure, despite the update, some weird answers will still slip through the cracks. Fortunately, Google has also thought of a fallback solution that will let people know if this answer is conclusive or not, by adding a small warning in case there are no good answers for this query.