Google's Answer to a "Post-Truth" World: Part 1

What is fake news and how does it shape the world?

Not many can say they were absolutely serene about the outcomes of last November. With fake news inundating our streams and gushing out through our pores, people saw and read what they wanted to believe. And many people felt a deep sense of displacement once they found out that they didn’t know the world they lived in at all.

“Project Owl”

Of all the problems Google tackles on a daily basis, it’s recently become evident that the search for Truth, with a capital “T,” was added to its list of things to do. The tech giant is putting in efforts to tackle fake news, going beyond “What’s the answer?” which seems to fall within the normal scope of a search engine’s duties. But the actual task at hand is parsing out the question of “What is the truth?” And as such, Google has launched “Project Owl,” a three-pronged process.

Public Relations Nightmare

The underlying problem of fake news is that people produce content to fit their world-views whether or not they are based on facts. In a different world this would be called lying. Furthermore, there are enough people looking for “alternate facts” to influence search suggestions that everyone else sees. And ever since November, it has grown into a public relations nightmare for Google.

New Feedback Form

One of the issues was with the search engine’s auto-complete, which suggests queries based on what the user starts typing. These suggestions are generated by what other people search for. And since the internet represents a large chunk of the population, there are bound to be unsavory beliefs. Furthermore, it not only suggests alternate facts, it can derail the search for whatever the user had in mind, effectively influencing their opinion whether or not it’s close to the truth.

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