Google Diverse Snippets
Google Search is shortly to have “diverse” Snippet results. Currently, when you search on Google, a box may appear showing a small preview of one of the search result pages. In the future, there may be a number of these Snippet boxes.
The individual Snippets were first used on Google in 2014 in order to give the user the opportunity to find out the information they wanted as soon as they searched instead of clicking through to a site.
The Snippets show facts which have been extracted from a web page using algorithms which identify relevant data.
Upon the release of Snippets, Google stated that “Fact quality will vary across results based on page content”. However, the Snippet results have been compared to “Fake news” due to their obscure and inaccurate suggestions.
In a recent blog post, Google said the reason users may receive contradicting advice can be due to the wording of a search term. The example they used was the different Snippet results of “are reptiles good pets” and “are reptiles bad pets”.
The chief of Google Snippets, Matthew Gray said “There are often legitimate diverse perspectives offered by publishers, and we want to provide users visibility and access into those perspective from multiple sources,”
However, digital media analyst, Joseph Evans thinks “”Both Google and Facebook are trying to address claims that they played a part in disseminating misinformation,”
“Google is addressing one of its most controversial products in this context.
“But it still looks like a refusal of responsibility to say that, ‘Sometimes we’re wrong, but we can solve the problem by offering multiple viewpoints.’”
It was suggested that by presenting users with multiple Snippets, there would be more contradictory results.
A resulting issue of this change is the fact that an increased number of Snippets will place unsponsored pages further down on the list of results.
Another consequence is the complications which may arise with Google Assistant as it uses the Snippet results to respond to users. It is currently unknown whether Assistant will read out multiple Snippet replies.