News Response #1

Article discussed:

Google Search results to give ‘diverse’ answers (http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-42886944)

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Google recently announced that it would soon alter its search tool to present ‘diverse perspectives’ by showing multiple boxed texts known as Snippets. It currently provides only one single box, that contains a response or feedback sourced from a third-party website, at the top of results pages. However, such a layout has been criticized for its promotion of short-sighted views and malicious information. Some instances of misinformation delivered by Google Snippets are below.

  • women were evil
  • the food additive monosodium glutamate caused brain damage
  • anti-fascist campaigners held an overly simplistic view of the world

When I googled some academic terms while working on class assignments, I was often embarrassed to see the results pages list the wrong definitions of the terms or arrogantly define a complex concept in a sentence despite the presence of diversified explanations of the concept in the circles. Therefore, I take sides with Google’s latest decision to offer multiple viewpoints in its Snippets. We are not sure yet about whether users will be given multiple responses or be asked if they want to know more after the first one. Considering that Google runs a voice search relying on Snippets to deliver voice-based replies, I suggest that it would be better for smartphone users to be asked to listen to other responses after the first one. On the other hand, I believe that the web should include a summary of various results and their links in Snippets in order to maintain the balance of potential sources.