The New Scientist has recently reported that a group of software engineers at Google are suggesting that Google may be preparing to change its search algorithm someday soon to rank web pages based on how accurate they are. The recently published paper explains the idea of Knowledge-Based Trust (KBT) which is an alternate way of determining the quality of web pages by looking at how accurate they are. It was reported that a Google research team has developed a way of measuring the trustworthiness of the information contained on an internet page.
The paper goes on to explain how Google could use an extraction process to compare the facts it finds on web pages to facts that are stored in a knowledge base and then rewarding pages that are found to be more accurate. Google has been building a massive database of known facts for years, and in 2012 introduced its Knowledge Graph which is what they suggest will be used.
The Google researchers stated that their early tests of Knowledge-Based Trust have been promising.
“We applied it to 2.8 billion triples extracted from the web, and were thus able to reliably predict the trustworthiness of 119 million web pages and 5.6 million websites.”
They went on to say:
“Quality assessment for web sources is of tremendous importance in web search. Web pages would be allocated trustworthiness scores and we need to address the fundamental question of estimating how trustworthy a given web source is.”
If Google do introduced this new algorithm update it could mean that websites that are popular sources that regularly get facts wrong could have their rankings affected for their lack of accuracy.
Currently web searches are ranked by, among other things, the number of incoming links to a page and browser history to help Google to determine page quality. However this current ranking system is really only a measure of the popularity of a web page rather than the accuracy of the information it contains, something the new search algorithm could correct.
So will Google someday rank web pages based on how accurate they are? A spokesman for Google said:
“This was research – we don’t have any specific plans to implement it in our products. We publish hundreds of research papers every year.”