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Google wants to curate more news and add “context”

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Google is testing new ways to showcase breaking news and live events.

Google Search began displaying links to news sites at the top of search results for live and newsy events such as the recent Senate debate on the debt limit. Now, according to The Information, the company plans to showcase more relevant data and features on breaking news topics, such as natural disasters, big-ticket sports games, and awards shows.

“We are continually experimenting with ways to ensure that people who come to Google can find the most authoritative and up to date information when they need it,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “Any feature or improvement to our systems goes through a rigorous testing and evaluation process to ensure it delivers value to people.”

Twitter is the more successful platform in terms of showcasing breaking news topics. Google recognized that and signed a deal with Twitter in 2015 to display tweets at the top of search results of breaking news topics.

Last month, Google announced that it was starting to add more “context” to the news:

These details will be added to the “About This Result” panel that was added in July. To open the “About This Result” panel, click on the three dots on the right side of a listed source.

“There’s a lot of information in the world from different sources, some unfamiliar,” said Harris Cohen, a product manager on Google’s consumer trust team. “Lots of people are concerned about mis- and disinformation. Across lots of areas, this tool really helps them with that journey.”

The new feature comes amid increasing accusations from politicians that Big Tech platforms are not doing enough to combat online misinformation and disinformation. Already, Google Search gives priority to sources it deems authoritative.

Despite the efforts to refine results for newsy topics, Google still insists it should not be treated as a publisher.

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