Google is using AI to improve Search and make snippets more reliable

Google Search
(Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Google is bringing in more features to better its Search.
  • The company is working on improving its featured snippets, using its new AI Model "MUM," to provide higher-quality search results quickly.
  • The content advisories are also updated to not just show an advisory for evolving stories but also when information could also be unreliable.
  • Google is also looking to, through its partnerships, educate people more about misinformation in schools.

Google just announced updates to Search that it hopes would provide its users with the highest-quality information its search engine can provide.

Google begins the improvement of its search engine with the service's featured snippet. The featured snippet of a search result is usually found in a dedicated box and displayed in a larger font, it gives you quick, glanceable information that (hopefully) best answers your question. It removes the need to click the link to actually do some digging to find the answer.

To help prop up this feature, Google says it's bringing in its latest AI model, MUM (Multitask Unified Model). According to the company, this AI model should help its systems "understand the notion of consensus, which is when multiple high-quality sources on the web all agree on the same fact."

This allows Google's search systems to check the information in a snippet and compare it to other high-quality sources to see if the given facts are the same. The idea is that the snippet should provide users with more reliable answers. In addition, Google's new AI model is also helping to trim down the use of snippets when it doesn't make sense, particularly when there may not be a definitive answer for a query. The idea is that these should be much more reliable going forward.

A featured snippet about the time it takes light to reach Earth on Google.

(Image credit: Google)

Google is not just looking at search returns for improvement but also the information found through Search. To that effect, Google is expanding on "About this result," which is found by clicking the three dots that appear next to each individual search result. The company is working on bringing more information to this feature, including how widely that source has been circulated, reviews about that source, whether a company is owned by another, and even when Search can't find more information about it.

Google is also expanding "About this result" by bringing it to the Google app, which users can access by swiping up from the bottom navigation bar. This is only available in English for now, but it's expanding to additional languages on the web later this year, including Portuguese, French, Italian, German, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, and Indonesian.

(Image credit: Google)

Google is also looking to expand on its content advisories, initially put in place for new information, such as for breaking news, that was still evolving. Google had this set to inform people that the information could change and that checking back sometime later would probably be better. This advisory system is now expanding to inform users when "there aren't many great results" for a search. Users may then be asked to check sources for their results or try a new query.

These updates arrive on the heels of Google's recent changes to Search that improves results from quoted searches. While not perfect, Google says this change will give users more context about where the quoted text appears in a given result.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.