fbpx

The variables that drive performance for LSA extend beyond the prominence, relevance and proximity factors we have built strategies for.

We are in the midst of a transformation in local advertising. Google has a new form of trusted answers that are revealed through a unique and compelling sponsored ad unit. The advertisers that participate in this new layer of trust are proudly displayed next to a green, check-mark badge. This designation is quickly becoming the symbol of trust for Google users. 

Google is so confident in the consumer value of these answers that they put them atop their precious search result pages. When speaking to local businesses, Google states that they can “earn customers trust with the badge.” It tells them that the badge will give its users, “more confidence to book your services.”

It is increasingly important for local business owners who are eligible, to obtain the Google badge of trust. But the real value of the badge is the access it provides to Local Services Ads (LSA). This is Google’s local trust pack. It is a cost-per-call advertising inventory unit that acts unlike anything we have ever encountered as marketers.

Badges are earned within two distinct programs – Google Guaranteed and Google Screened. The more mature Google Guaranteed, now covers most Home Service categories, including appliance repair, carpenter, carpet cleaner, electrician, house cleaning, interior designer, landscaper, lawn care provider, mover, pest control technician, pet care provider, pet groomer,  plumber, roofer, tree service provider, water damage, window cleaner, window service provider and flooring, foundations, countertop, HVAC, and siding pros. The green check-mark for Google  Guaranteed providers signifies that Google has verified the business and backs the services booked.

This year, Google solidified the growth intentions behind its newly minted trust layer, with the launch of Google Screened for Professional Services providers. This program is for lawyers, financial planners, real estate agents, photographers, event planners, and tax specialists.The Google Screened badge means that it has verified the providers’ background and backs their expertise.

Over a series of articles, I will address the Google Guaranteed and Screened programs and explore the specifics of each. We will learn what it means to optimize LSA and take advantage of the badge. Here we look at the past and present conditions that underscore Google’s revolutionary new trust layer. 

Part 1: The Past

To truly understand the local trust pack, it is important to start with Google My Business (GMB). Launched in 2014, GMB is the quintessential free marketing tool for local businesses. It enables them to manage their business presence across Google. It was positioned as the ‘businesses’ best friend and the place to keep business content fresh, post deals, share high-quality photos and videos and respond to customers. 

But, as Google knows all too well, leadership begets scrutiny and spam and in January 2016, the Google Local team found itself having to respond publicly to a NY Times Article entitled “Fake Online Locksmiths May Be Out to Pick Your Pocket, Too.” The article directly implicated Google Local results and the ease of how unsavory people game them to commit fraud. 

The public may have been talking about locksmiths now, but what about all the other “pros” that Google was sending into peoples’ homes? By 2016, Google was being held to account for the safety of its users’ post-search, in their own homes.

 

 

It is no coincidence that months prior to the Times article, Google announced that it was testing Home Service Ads in beta in the San Francisco area for, you guessed it… locksmiths, but also plumbers, cleaners, and handymen. 

Trust would be built on the back of what was called Advanced Verification standards that Google states:

 “In order to prevent fraudulent businesses from advertising on Google using false identities, Google Ads and Local Services advertisers in certain verticals will be required to complete Advanced Verification.” 

By this time, post-transactional activity was very fertile ground for Google. Its reviews and ratings features have historically relied on its consumers to qualify their experiences with local businesses. In fact, these post-transactional signals have become a foundation of local search ranking. 

Now, consumer reviews were no longer enough. The meaning of trust for Google’s local results was expanded to encapsulate the security and well-being of its searchers through the transactional environment itself. As the story unfolds, we begin to see that Google’s move to instill new signals of trust into its result sets, requires a momentous effort and an entirely different set of rules. 

Part 2: The Present

To qualify for the coveted Google Guaranteed or Screened badge, the service pros undergo personal background checks and provide corporate documentation, proof of insurance, certifications, licenses and other credentials, depending upon industry. This process can take weeks, even months, as Google depends upon third-parties throughout the application process. 

If this vetting process sounds familiar, then you are probably familiar with mature vertical search providers, like Home Advisor or even Thumbtack (a Google Ventures investment). The badge is so trust-oriented that if a consumer is unsatisfied with a service pro’s work, Google may refund the amount paid for the service – the “Guaranteed.” They cap lifetime coverage for claims at $2,000 USD.

It is exciting for a business owner to obtain the Google badge of trust. But it’s the access to LSA that gets the phone ringing. Most local search marketers unknowingly stand on the cusp of what will be their biggest challenge to date in working with Local Services Ads. These ads look and act differently than other search-based products or strategies. On the surface, the inventory is unpredictable and temperamental. Below the surface it is formulaic and strict.

The LSA algorithm, which drives the cost-per-call market, has significant advertiser dependencies. A click on the ad unit itself resolves to a new type of Google landing page called the LSA profile. The rules governing the trust layer display are predicated on a very shallow “job category” to “job type” to a keyword-based ontology. The LSA algorithm is rooted in GMB and local rank principles. But, what makes LSA so unique is its use of methods such as hours of operations, answer rate, conversation quality, booked transactions, archived calls, customer reviews, and other advertiser feedback loops to calculate ad serving rules. Google may represent its trustworthiness for a business by a badge, but it represents trust for an advertiser through ad serving. 

For five years, Local Services Ads have been slowly, but consistently launching atop Google search results for local queries in key home services categories. The pace of the roll-out is now speeding up as the once obscure and mysterious program is coming out of the dark and into the light for users and advertisers alike. In 2020, as Guaranteed results became much more prevalent across home pro queries, Google made profound news by quietly announcing Google Screened for Professional Services categories.

The reality is that despite all the potential, many local businesses simply won’t qualify for the Guaranteed or Screened programs. Even if they do, many do not have the basic faculty to interact with the advanced functioning of the call-based advertising inventory. In the months and years ahead, many marketers and advertisers will grow very frustrated, give up, wait and watch. 

This is not a test. That started for Google in 2015. A monetized trust layer, unlike anything we have seen in local advertising, has form and function on Google search results. The variables that drive the performance for LSA extend well beyond the prominence, relevance, and proximity factors that we as local marketers have built strategies and careers around.  A new era has arrived in local search. 

In the articles to follow, we will unpack Google Guaranteed and Screened, including the approval processes, the LSA algorithm, the cost-per-call pricing model, and the LSA/GMB Profiles. 

Stay tuned…

[Source: This article was published in searchengineland.com By Justin Sanger - Uploaded by the Association Member: Carol R. Venuti] 

Categorized in Search Engine

Bug causes search UI to display random Bing results

We’ve known for a while that integrating the web search in the default Windows 10 search experience isn’t necessarily the best way to go, but here’s more evidence in this regard if you still needed it.

Some users are now seeing random web results in the search box whenever they search for a specific keyword. By the looks of things, the displayed Bing results have nothing to do with the keyword that was provided in the search box.

Several Windows 10 users have confirmed in this reddit thread that the bug happens on their devices too, and some say that a simple reboot of the computer fixes the whole thing.

In one case, simply searching for “S” in the Windows 10 search UI indeed provides a link to the Settings app, but the web search returns results that have nothing to with such a term. One of the results is a Wikipedia link for the “W” keyword.

Just disable Bing results

At this point, it’s not exactly clear what’s happening, but if a system reboot doesn’t bring things to normal, you can just disable Bing results from the Windows 10 search experience completely.

To do this, just launch the Registry Editor and look for the following path:

Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer

Just create a new DWORD (if it’s not there already) that is called DisableSearchBoxSuggestions and then set its value to 1. Reboot your computer and the web search results should no longer be offered in the Windows 10 search experience.

The aforementioned bug seems to be happening on all Windows 10 versions, including the May 2020 Update whose rollout is still under way. There’s a chance that the bug is caused by a server problem, as the recent cumulative updates are unlikely to be the ones to blame for the whole thing.

 

[Source: This article was published in news.softpedia.com By Bogdan Popa - Uploaded by the Association Member: Dorothy Allen]

Categorized in Internet Search

Apple made a significant update to its web crawler Applebot, fueling speculation that the tech giant wants to swoop in and grab search market share from rival Google with its own web-based search engine. Let’s dig in a little bit deeper to find out how this strategic move will benefit the Cupertino-based tech behemoth. 

Apple is planning to dip its toes into the search engine market. Coywolf’s report hints that “there are several signs that Apple may be doing just that.” Speculations have also been triggered by recent updates to improve Siri and Spotlight search results, which indicate that Apple is doubling down on search. 

 

Apple’s Ambitious Project: A Search Engine

Since 2015, the Cupertino tech giant has been hard at work to blunt Google’s dominance in search. First came the web crawler Applebot —  used in products like Siri and Spotlight Suggestions, Apple confirmed. Applebot is pegged as a springboard that will enable Apple to rapidly expand its search.  Evidently, in July this year, Apple updated its Applebot support page, and since then, several developers have noticed more frequent Applebot crawls on their site. Michael James Field, a digital marketing consultant, tweeted about massive spikes in crawls.  

Then, in 2018, Goldman Sachs analysts estimated that Google paid Apple $9.5 billion in traffic acquisition costs (TAC) to be the default search engine on iOS devices. This accounted for 23% of Apple’s service group’s total revenue. In 2019, Google paid Apple $1.5 billion to remain the default iOS search option in the U.K alone. 

This massive deal has come under the radar of the U.K. regulators. Upon reviewing the agreement, The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority observed that this arrangement stifled competition in the search engine market populated with Microsoft Bing, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo. 

 

The report stated, “Given the impact of pre installations and defaults on mobile devices and Apple’s significant market share, it is our view that Apple’s existing arrangements with Google create a significant barrier to entry and expansion for rivals affecting competition between search engines on mobiles.”

Apple is also busy building an engineering team to drive search engine operations, the jobs page reveals.  

Search Engine: A Big Boost to Apple’s Business

If Apple launches its search engine, it might just diminish Google’s stranglehold in the search engine market and eat into its ad revenue, which amounted to $134.81 billion in 2019.  Jon Henshaw, founder and managing editor of Coywolf says, “A search engine from Apple will likely look and function slightly different from modern search engines like Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo. That’s because Apple historically likes to do things differently, and their search engine will serve a different purpose than showing ads and data mining. an Apple search engine will likely function as a highly personalized data hub. It will be similar to Google Assistant on Android, but different since it (initially) won’t have ads, will be completely private, and have significantly deeper integrations with the OS.”

In August 2020, Apple introduced the AI/ML residency program to gather niche experts to build AI products and experiences. With this program, Apple aims to leverage AI and ML expertise to strengthen its search engine platform and beef up AI-driven search results based on users’ email, messages, photos, contacts, and events.

Apple search engine will be a big boost for iOS developers who could promote their apps in the search engine, adding value to Apple’s digital ad revenue. And if Apple does launch its own universal search engine, it would be more personalized, privacy-focused, and feature deeper integrations with the OS. 

 

[Source: This article was published in toolbox.com By Priya Jha - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jennifer Levin]

Categorized in News & Politics

Google is bringing a new feature to its popular search engine. Its system will have a ‘Fact Check’ label on its image search results to verify the visual content, starting from today.

The Fact Check label can be found on the image thumbnails in the image search category and will search as a verification effort in Search and news. According to a statement from Google, “Photos and videos are an incredible way to help people understand what’s going on in the world. But the power of visual media has its pitfalls⁠—especially when there are questions surrounding the origin, authenticity, or context of an image.”

In other words, the new feature arrives to help people differentiate between authentic searches and unknown and possibly misleading sources. These labels will also help users make informed decisions regarding the content that they wish to see. Google also shared an example of this through its official Twitter handle. Say, someone, search Google Images for a shark swimming down the street in Houston, a fact check label will be attached below it, verifying the content.

Google SearchLiaison
 Is that image of a shark swimming down a street in Houston real? Google Images now has "Fact Check" labels to help inform you in some cases like this (no, it was not real). Our post today explains more about how & when fact checks appear in Google Images: blog.google/products/searc

EbIVJlCU4AAonJG (1).jpg

If a user clicks on the image to expand it, the fact checked search result will also display a preview of the image alongside a short summary of the information contained within the webpage and where the image is featured. Notably, these fact checks are present only on independent, authoritative sources and it is currently unknown what criteria a publisher needs in order to receive to also fall under this category. An algorithm determines trustable sources and offers the label.

[Source: This article was published in gizmochina.com By Sean - Uploaded by the Association Member: Edna Thomas]

Categorized in Search Engine

Google gives a beginner-friendly explanation of how it improves search results in a new video published to the company’s YouTube channel.

How does Google improve Search? In this video, a look at how we research, test, experiment and seek scalable solutions, if issues arise: youtube.com/watch?v=DcKEPl Also learn more at our How Search Works site: google.com/search/howsear

The video is clearly aimed at an audience that’s less familiar with Google Search than the average SEO or website owner.

Google tends to publish this level of content on ‘Google’ YouTube channel, whereas more advanced content resides on the ‘Google Webmasters’ channel.

 

Maybe it’s the search geek in me, but I always find it interesting to see how Google explains search to a general audience.

If you’re anything like me then you may find it interesting as well.

Here’s a recap of different points that are touched on in the video.

Video recap: How Google Search continues to improve results

Contrary to what some people might think, Google cannot make changes to individual search results pages.

Rather, it implements systems that improve search results as a whole.

“No system is perfect, and sometimes ours may miss the mark and show you content that isn’t really that relevant or doesn’t come from the most reliable sources.

You might think that we can just fix the results for that specific search, but with billions of searches per day there’s no way that anyone can manually decide which pieces of content should be ranked above others.

Here’s what we do instead: make search better.

We do that by coming up with improvements to our systems that we think might help not just those queries that turn up unreliable or irrelevant results, but a broad range of similar searches.”

Thousands of improvements per year

The video goes on to reveal that, in 2019 alone, Google made around 3,620 improvements to search results.

That’s an average of nearly 10 improvements a day.

“These changes help us with ranking our blue link web results, and our search features like autocomplete, knowledge panels, and featured snippets.”

To be sure, not all of those 3,000+ improvements are algorithm updates.

Improvements can also involve editing information within search features.

Although Google cannot make changes to individual SERPs, it can make changes to specific search features.

Google gives an example of incorrect information appearing in a recipe card in search results.

8cfb17c1-196d-44c8-97cb-c24a73c24971-5f35a98200ae6-680x326.jpeg

Google can manually edit these search features at will, which is usually what happens when it’s alerted to the mistakes by users.

“Every now and then we do have to remove incorrect or policy violating information from search features ourselves.

Sometimes we’re alerted to issues based on feedback from our users. Then we look into what caused the issue, take what we’ve learned, and keep improving our systems with the goal of preventing this kind of thing from happening again.”

Google concludes the video by acknowledging that no system is perfect. But the company is committed to making improvements every day to help people find what they’re looking for.

See the full video below:

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Matt Southern - Uploaded by the Association Member: David J. Redcliff]

Categorized in Search Engine

Google suffered a glitch that negatively impacted search quality. This was not an update. It was a mistake of some kind.

Google’s search algorithm suffered an unprecedented glitch that affected search results.

Many in the search community believed it was an update.

The disruption in Google search was not an update.

Google’s John Mueller tweeted:

“I don’t have all the details yet, but it seems like this was a glitch on our side and has been fixed in the meantime.”

Official Explanation

Tuesday August 11, 2020 Google’s Webmasters Twitter account tweeted an explanation.

Caffeine Index Issue?

Google has a web crawling and indexing system called Caffeine.  Caffeine allowed Google to process data faster than ever before.

 

This Caffeine indexing system empowered Google to continually index the entire web in real-time.

With a fresher index, Google could then show more up to date search results.

Google’s Gary Illyes  tweeted an explanation of how complex a search index is, with a caveat that the list he published was only a partial list.

“The indexing system, Caffeine, does multiple things:

1. ingests fetchlogs,
2. renders and converts fetched data,
3. extracts links, meta and structured data,
4. extracts and computes some signals,
5. schedules new crawls,
6. and builds the index that is pushed to serving.”

Followed by this tweet:

“If something goes wrong with most of the things that it’s supposed to do, that will show downstream in some way. If scheduling goes awry, crawling may slow down. If rendering goes wrong, we may misunderstand the pages. If index building goes bad, ranking & serving may be affected.”

Then he concluded with this:

Google Caffeine Index?

It was kind of surprising to see the Google Caffeine system cited.

It was officially announced in 2010.

The announcement stated that it was a foundation for indexing that was meant to scale for the future.

This is what the official 2010 Caffeine announcement stated:

“We’ve built Caffeine with the future in mind.

Not only is it fresher, it’s a robust foundation that makes it possible for us to build an even faster and comprehensive search engine that scales…”

Advertisment

Google Search Glitch Was Worldwide

The Google search glitch was keenly felt in Europe as well as Asia and all English speaking countries.

Google’s search glitch appeared to affect all languages, countries, and niches.

It affected everything from local services to recipes.

Ecommerce sites reported extreme fluctuations in rankings.

Bad Search Results

Recipe Blog SEO Casey Markee tweeted a screenshot of how bad the recipe search results were.

Think you should be getting better results with your Google Ads?
Your campaign may be suffering from click fraud. Check if you need to protect your ads from competitors & bots. Simple setup. Get a free checkup today.

Google Search Glitch Created Poor Search Results

Google’s search results became incredibly bad, some to the point of being useless.

I tried searching for an article from a specific site and Google wouldn’t show it to me, even when I used the name of the site that contained the article.

It felt somewhat like in the old days when PageRank had a stronger influence.

WebmasterWorld had great real-time coverage of the glitch as it happened.

 

A member from WebmasterWorld, webdev29, noted how the big sites like Amazon seemed to dominate the SERPs.

“huge update also in France ATM, no word to describe the mess, its simply crazy ! there is no more ecommerces in my SERP (decoration) and mine has just lost everything…6 years destroyed in just one minute and the lives of several employees at stake! it’s not possible that it continues like this, in the SERP, there are only the big marketplaces (cdiscount, amazon, laredoute, aliexpress…) and some more or less recent sites without much interest…all the rest has disappeared on the deep pages of the search engine.”

 

Report from Italy

WebmasterWorld member teokolo shared:

“Seems like a big update in progress here in Italy.
Every niche I follow is messed up. Shops are gone, affiliate sites have disappeared, serps are full of Amazon, ebay and news sites.”

Google Glitch Impact in Norway

mini_007 said:

“wow insane big update here in Norway, never seen so big change.”

Massive Fluctuations in Google Search Results

Whether it was on Facebook, WebmasterWorld or Twitter, the common observation was that there were massive fluctuations in the search results.

This report from WebmasterWorld member Whoa182 is typical:

“What the hell is going on?

Just noticed my articles have gone from page 1 to page 7+

Seems to have just happened in the past few hours! Quite a few of my competitors have all disappeared from the SERPs.

Edit: Okay, it’s just massive fluctuations in page positions. One minute it’s on page 1, next it’s page 7 or whatever, and then back again.”

Google Has Not Yet Explained the Cause

Google’s Danny Sullivan is the one who typically announces updates.

 

Google Webmaster Trends Analysts, Gary Illyes and Mueller also share announcements of changes at Google as well, including glitches.

For example, at the beginning of 2020 Google suffered a glitch that caused an issue with Google’s index. It was Illyes who did the explaining.

Google suffered a massive glitch that caused the search results around the world to become less usable.

The cause of the glitch, according to Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes appears to be related to Google’s Caffeine indexing system or something along those lines.

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Roger Montti - Uploaded by the Association Member: Deborah Tannen]

Categorized in Search Engine

Google is such a powerhouse search engine that it has not only injected itself into our everyday lives, it’s even a verb now.

But just because we Google things a lot doesn’t mean that that we do it as effectively as possible. So here are some tips to help maximise and improve your Google search results.


Dashes

If you want to exclude a word from your search results, put a dash in front of it.

Example

Watch West Wing online -Netflix

Google-Trick-.png

Quotation Marks

Use quotation marks to search an exact set of words, such as song lyrics.

Example:

“You must remember this” song

google-quotation.jpg

Asterisk

Speaking of exact swords, what if you can’t remember them all? No problem — just use an asterisk in place of the unknown word/s. Again, this is great for song lyrics or quotes that you may have only half heard. Alternatively, ones that are often misquoted, like below.

Example:

“Play * Sam”

google-asterisk.jpg

Tilde

Use a tilde before a word to include all of its synonyms.

 

Example:

Star Wars ~Presents

As you can see, it has scraped ‘gifts’ as well:

google-presents.jpg

Double Full Stop

Use a double full stop between two numbers to convey ranges. This is handy for pricing, dates and measurements.

Example:

HP Spectre buy $1000..$2000

google-price.jpg

Site: Query

You can search for something within a specific website by using ‘site:’

Example:

John Wick site:gizmodo.com.au

google-john-wick.jpg

Link: Query

You can find sites that have linked to a specific URL through ‘link:’

Example:

link:https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2018/06/theres-a-possible-paypal-scam-happening-in-australia-right-now/

google-link.jpg

Related: Query

If you’re looking for websites that are related to a specific site, you can use ‘related:’

Example:

related:boardgamegeek.com

google-related.jpg

Reverse Image Search

This is incredibly handy if you want to find the origin of a photo you have randomly stumbled across on the web. For example, a plate of delicious looking food that you would love to know the recipe for.

Reverse image searching is also great for tracking down original photographers, identifying things (celebrities, flora and fauna, unlabelled clothes or products you want to buy), discovering where your own work may be getting used, and debunking fake social media posts and profiles.

You can do a reverse image search by going into the ‘images’ tab on Google and clicking on the camera icon in the search bar. You can then either upload an image or insert an image address (right click on an image and hit ‘copy image address). Google will then deliver its best guess on the image.

Example:

I went to Pinterest, searched ‘Ramen’ and chose this image:

1db1d6577ad9b645dbdfd39d781e85db.jpg

I then reverse image searched it on Google to find the recipe.

 google-reverse-image.jpg

This post was originally published on March 29, 2019.

[Source: This article was published in gizmodo.com.au By Tegan Jones - Uploaded by the Association Member: Olivia Russell]

Categorized in Search Engine

I haven't been the biggest fan of Google Images since it removed direct image links, but the service has been working on a few useful features behind the scenes. Starting this week, contextual information about images will appear when you tap on them, similar to what you would get from regular web searches.

"When you search for an image on mobile in the U.S.," Google wrote in a blog post, "you might see information from the Knowledge Graph related to the result. That information would include people, places or things related to the image from the Knowledge Graph’s database of billions of facts, helping you explore the topic more."

Screenshot_20200708-154057-329x713.png

Unlike with web searches, Images can display multiple Knowledge Graph information panels for a single result. Google says the feature combines data from the web page and Google Lens-style deep learning to determine what information to display.

The feature is going live in the Google Android app, as well as the mobile web version of Google Images.

[Source: This article was published in androidpolice.com By Corbin Davenport - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jeremy Frink]

Categorized in Search Engine

Google is bringing fact check information to image search results worldwide starting today.

Google is adding “Fact Check” labels to thumbnails in image search results in a continuation of its fact check efforts in Search and News.

“Photos and videos are an incredible way to help people understand what’s going on in the world. But the power of visual media has its pitfalls⁠—especially when there are questions surrounding the origin, authenticity or context of an image.”

This change is being rolled out today to help people navigate issues around determining the authenticity of images, and make more informed decisions about the content they consume.

When you see certain pictures in Google Images, such as a shark swimming down the street in Houston, Google will attach a “Fact Check” label underneath the thumbnail.

Screenshot 1
Is that image of a shark swimming down a street in Houston real? Google Images now has "Fact Check" labels to help inform you in some cases like this (no, it was not real). Our post today explains more about how & when fact checks appear in Google Images: https://www.blog.google/products/search/bringing-fact-check-information-google-images/ …

EbIVJlCU4AAonJG.jpg

After tapping on a fact-checked result to view a larger preview of the image, Google will display a summary of the information contained on the web page where the image is featured.

A “Fact Check” label will only appear on select images that come from independent, authoritative sources on the web. It’s not exactly known what criteria a publisher needs to meet in order to be considered authoritative.

According to a help page, Google uses an algorithm to determine which publishers are trusted sources.

Google also relies on ClaimReview structured data markup that publishers are required to use to indicate fact check content to search engines.

Fact Check labels may appear both for fact check articles about specific images and for fact check articles that include an image in the story.

 

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, Google already highlights fact checks in regular search results and Google News. YouTube also utilizes ClaimReview to surface fact check information panels in Brazil, India and the U.S.

Google says its fact check labels are surfaced billions of times per year.

While adding ClaimReview markup is encouraged, being eligible to serve a Fact Check label does not affect rankings. This goes for Google Search, Google Images, Google News, and YouTube.

 [Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Matt Southern - Uploaded by the Association Member: Olivia Russell]

Categorized in Search Engine

Facebook  is testing a new feature that aims to keep users inside its platform when they’re looking for factual information they would otherwise turn to Google or Wikipedia to find. The company confirmed to TechCrunch it’s now piloting an updated version of Facebook Search that displays factual information when users search for topics like public figures, places, and interests — like movies and TV shows.

For example, if you type in a movie title in the Facebook search bar, you’ll be shown an information box that gives you all the details about the movie.

 

The information is gathered from publicly available data, including Wikipedia. But instead of requiring users to click out of Facebook to view the information, it’s displayed in a side panel next to the search results. This is similar to the automatically generated Knowledge Panel format Google uses for these same types of searches.

SocialMediaToday was the first to report the news of the pilot, citing posts from Twitter users like JC Van ZijlMatt Navarra, and Giulio S.

Facebook confirmed with TechCrunch the feature is a pilot program that’s currently running in English on iOS, desktop, and mobile web. (Users may or may not see the information panels themselves, as this is still a test.)

Screen-Shot-2020-06-11-at-12.10.07-PM.png

We’ve found the new feature can be fairly hit or miss, however.

For starters, it doesn’t always recognize a search term as a proper title. A search for “joker,” for instance displayed a Wikipedia-powered information box for the movie. But a search for “parasite” failed to do so for the Oscar-winning title that in 2020 became the first non-English film to win Best Picture.

Meanwhile, a search for “Donald Trump” easily returned an information panel for the U.S. president, but information for many members of his cabinet did not come up when they were searched by name. Information about leading coronavirus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci came up in a side panel when the term “Anthony Fauci” was entered in the Facebook’s search box, but not when “dr. Fauci” was used as the search query.

Screen-Shot-2020-06-11-at-12.09.51-PM.png

Google’s Knowledge Panel doesn’t experience these same problems, as it’s able to make intuitive leaps about which person, place, or thing the user is likely searching for at the time of their query.

Facebook Search will also direct users toward its own features when doing so is more beneficial, it appears. For instance, a search for “COVID” or “COVID-19” will return Facebook’s own COVID-19 Information Center at the top of the search results, not a data-powered side panel about the disease. Google, by comparison, returns a coronavirus map, case overview, and CDC information in its Knowledge Panel.

And a search for the popular game “Animal Crossing” returns its Facebook Page and the option to add it to the titles you’re tracking on Facebook Gaming, but no information panel.

In other words, don’t expect to see an information panel for all the persons, places, or things you search for on Facebook at this time.

The update follows the closure of Facebook’s previous Graph Search feature. Years ago, Facebook attempted to reinvent its search engine with the launch of Graph Search, which allowed users to find people, places, photos, and interests using Facebook data. The feature was later shut down as Facebook dealt with the backlash from major security lapses, like the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Doing so hampered investigators’ ability to catch criminals and other bad actors, BuzzFeed News noted at the time.

Last year, Facebook also told Vice it was pausing some aspects of Graph Search to focus on improvements to keyword search instead.

Presenting “factual” information in the sidebar could also help Facebook claim it’s addressing concerns around the spread of misinformation on its platform. As a home for active disinformation campaigns, propaganda, and conspiracy theories, Facebook needs a tool that displays fact-checked, factual information. (There was a time when Wikipedia wasn’t considered a valid source of that kind of information, but we’re long past that point now!)

This isn’t the first time Facebook has tapped Wikipedia data to enhance its service. It used Wikipedia information on its community pages over a decade ago, for example.

Facebook didn’t offer additional details regarding how long it plans to test the new search feature or when it expects it to roll out more broadly.

[Source: This article was published in techcrunch.com By Sarah Perez - Uploaded by the Association Member: Daniel K. Henry]

Categorized in Search Engine
Page 1 of 9

airs logo

Association of Internet Research Specialists is the world's leading community for the Internet Research Specialist and provide a Unified Platform that delivers, Education, Training and Certification for Online Research.

Get Exclusive Research Tips in Your Inbox

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.

Follow Us on Social Media