If it’s on the Internet, it must be true, right? Well, not always. After all, the online world has its fair share of urban legends and myths. Now, Google may be working on a way to clean house, or at least clean up the trash.
The Truth, According to Google
A team of Google researchers released a report this month on truthfulness and website rankings. In particular, the search giant could launch a new system for ranking websites according to veracity. This means the more truthful the information on a website or page is, the higher up it would show in the SERPs.
Currently, Google’s PageRank algorithm—named after co-founder Larry Page—is supposed to rank websites based on reputation. It, however, ranks sites based on popularity, such as social signals and user/traffic signals, among others.
With the proposed new truth metric, pages with unsubstantiated information—such as celebrity gossip, conspiracy theories, and flat out lies—will be penalized and show up very low in the results pages.
How it Works
The Knowledge-Based Trust (KBT) will draw on the search engine’s “Knowledge Vault”—Google’s vast collection of about 2.8 billion facts it pulled off the Internet.
By checking pages against the said database, and cross-referencing facts, the researchers believe the trust metric could assign each page a truth score. Pages with a lot of unsubstantiated information or false claims would be bumped down in the rankings.
The proposed algorithm is still in the research stage, as scientists are still figuring out numerous issues before it can be used, including ensuring the how KBT will deal with new facts on certain topics.