Feb 28, 2018

Google updates search to better answer ambiguous questions

Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google is launching a new feature, called multi-faceted featured snippets, that will provide users with multiple answers to nuanced questions. For example, if a user asks about “ears popping on a plane,” they could be looking for the cause or for remedies.

Why it matters: The new rollout represents a significant update to a years-long progress of refining search results to show users the most accurate answers in relation to the intent of what they are asking.

Google
  • Google's ultimate goal is to use consensus to inform answers to search queries on the web. The hope is that this will ultimately elevate high quality sources of information.
  • The update could one potentially help combat fake news search results, because the feature aims to provide more comprehensive set of perspectives
  • The update is a part of an ongoing effort to refine search results to provide users with the most accurate answers possible.

"Overall we believe this direction allows google provide more comprehensive overview for an area," says Emily Moxley, director of product management for this feature. "We're not trying to provide every possible opinion, but we're trying to focus on providing more authoritative voices."

What's next? Google plans to expand coverage to more queries as it improves machine learning around the product, including multi-opinion queries, such as, "Is milk good for you?"

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U.S. cities crackdown on protests against police brutality

Photo: Megan Jelinger/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Major U.S. cities have implemented curfews and called on National Guard to mobilize as thousands of protesters gather across the nation to continue protesting the death of George Floyd.

The state of play: Hundreds have already been arrested as tensions continue to rise between protesters and local governments. Protesters are setting police cars on fire as freeways remain blocked and windows are shattered, per the Washington Post. Law enforcement officials are using tear gas and rubber bullets to try to disperse crowds and send protesters home.

Trump to invite Russia and other non-member G7 countries to summit

President Trump at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Saturday. Photo: Saul Martinez/Getty Images

President Trump told reporters on Saturday evening he would postpone the G7 summit to September and expand the meeting to more nations that are not members of the Group of 7.

Details: Trump said he would invite Russia, South Korea, Australia and India to the summit, according to a pool report. "I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries," he said.

Updated 51 mins ago - Politics & Policy

George Floyd protests: What you need to know

Thousands of protesters march in Denver, Colorado, on May 30. Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

Curfews are being imposed in Portland, Oregon, and Cincinnati, while the governors of Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio and Texas activated the National Guard following unrest in the states, per AP.

The big picture: Floyd's fatal run-in with police is the latest reminder of the disparities between black and white communities in the U.S. and comes as African Americans grapple with higher death rates from the coronavirus and higher unemployment from trying to stem its spread.