Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Google to fact-check the Internet?

A research paper published by Google could potentially revolutionize the way information travels on the web. To this day, Google search results have been primarily ranked by relevance and their popularity (PageRank), determined primarily by exogenous signals. The paper proposes a different approach that ranks factually correct websites at the top using truthfulness as an endogenous signal.

Now, it may not go anywhere since it's entirely theoretical at this stage. But the tools necessary to employ this technique are already in place. Primarily, the Knowledge Graph. Google is slowly developing an internal fact database through the Knowledge Graph project. It's the same database that is powering some of the boxes that show up when you search for specific items. For example, a search for "FLU" would yeild:

In fact, Google even built sub teams under the Knowledge Graph project such as a team of doctors that researched and compiled medical information (5% of all searches are health-related).

Let's switch gears a little bit and think about how this could change the way SEO is done. Is Google actually willing to remake their algorithm that has been so successful? But then, Google is constantly evolving. There's nothing stopping them from one day declaring the new approach or from slowly injecting fact-check mechanisms as small parts of their algorithms. Maybe they're already doing it--maybe it will check this blog and fact check our posts. The results would be interesting. :)


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