Google Top Stories Desktop Update
Google has completely phased out its “In the news” results after the search giant faced massive criticism for purportedly distributing fake news.
The Google Top Stories box has been around since 2014, and will replace the “In the News” title on desktop searches. Google claims this switch has been in the process for months, and the move is to make desktop news searches resemble its mobile results pages.
Perhaps more interesting, Google also conducted a minor algorithm change to its Top Stories algorithm. In the wake of the 2016 election, a number of fake news sites were able to acquire massive rank in Google’s signature In the news results block.
After the recent Google algorithm change, users are reporting that more credible news stories are being distributed by Google. Business Insider posted a screen shot of a Google search asking who won the popular vote in election 2016. The top result was a WordPress blog named “70 News,” which falsely stated that Donald Trump had won the popular vote. The company suffered massive criticism in the wake of this.
Google has publicly stated that they will cut advertising rights for websites that distribute fake news. Google’s news feature is vetted by a committee at Google in order to be published. Unfortunately, Google’s In the News was crawling and distributing fake news stories through its core search algorithm.
While its search algorithm is well adept to picking up spam, it cannot thoroughly decipher between the objectivity and truthfulness of news stories. The recent move to make desktop searches display its Google Top Stories carousel should reportedly fix this issue and generally deliver a better user experience.
Google’s Top Stories box has already existed and dominated mobile search for over 2 years now. AMP webpages are often displayed in the “Top Stories” carousel and tend to load faster and generate more traffic than traditional mobile webpages.
Many users and reputable publishers will probably not witness a conscious change to Google’s tweaked news algorithm and Top Stories switch. Google’s move to only distribute credible publishers in its Top Stories box may mean that smaller publications could see a drop in traffic.