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Google Search to remove election-related autocompletes, ensure high-quality information

Google announced that it will remove election-related autocompletes as an extended protection against misinformation, fake news.

twitter-logoYasmin Ahmed | September 11, 2020 | Updated 15:48 IST
(Source: Google)

Highlights

  • Google Search will not show election-related autocompletes in a bid to remove hateful and inappropriate predictions.
  • Google has developed an Intelligence Desk, which actively monitors and identifies potential information threats.
  • Google noted that it has donated $6.5 million to fact checking organisations to ensure credible information.

In a bid to curb misinformation and fake news, Google on Thursday said that it will turn off election related autocompletes. Autocompletes are predictions or suggestions that a user can see just by typing in a few words in Search. As an extended protection of the Search feature Google will remove the autocomplete feature. The US elections are slated for November this year and by disabling the autocomplete feature Google wishes to remove hateful and inappropriate predictions.

"We will remove predictions that could be interpreted as claims for or against any candidate or political party. We will also remove predictions that could be interpreted as a claim about participation in the electionólike statements about voting methods, requirements, or the status of voting locationsóor the integrity or legitimacy of electoral processes, such as the security of the election," Google noted in a blog post.

This means that predictions like "you can vote by phone" as well as "you can't vote by phone," or a prediction that says "donate to" any party or candidate, will not appear in Autocomplete. However, users can still search for whatever they like and find the results.

Google also announced new improvements for Search that will ensure to deliver high quality information to users. Google noted that it has developed an Intelligence Desk, which actively monitors and identifies potential information threats. Google noted that it has launched several alerts over the years as part of its crisis response. The intelligence team comprises analysts monitoring news events 24 by 7, spanning natural disasters and crises, breaking news moments and the latest developments in ongoing topics like COVID.


"When events occur, our analysts collect data about how our systems are responding and compile reports about narratives that are emerging, like new claims about COVID treatments. Our product teams use these data sets and reports from the Intelligence Desk to run more robust quality tests and ensure that our systems are working as intended for the wide range of topics people Search for," Pandu Nayak, Google Fellow and Vice President, Search noted.


Google is also working on improving systems for breaking news and crises situations getting users the "most authoritative information available." Nayak in the blog post noted that Google's detection time has reduced from 40 minutes to just a few minutes in a few years.


Google noted that to provide accurate information on the knowledge graph Google has deepened its partnerships with government agencies, health organizations and Wikipedia to ensure reliable, accurate information is available, and protect against potential vandalism and misinformation.

Google has donated $6.5 million to fact checking organisations and non-profits for credible information. As per Google, in 2020, people have seen fact checks on Search and News more than 4 billion times, which is more than all of 2019 combined.

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