Although they probably shouldn’t, many people today regard Google as the repository of truth and fact. People simply search for news or use terms related to things and events and take the top results as the authoritative word on the matter (and sometimes misattribute it to Google rather than the source). Although it works great for the utilization of its services and, in the long run, ads, Google also knows too well that this presumption could also work against it. Now it is putting up a clear warning when it isn’t so sure about the correctness of search results that it presents because there isn’t much information about it on the Internet yet.
Many people probably see Google as an encyclopedia rather than a search engine. They unknowingly or willingly ignore the fact that Google simply sources information from multiple websites and surfaces the ones its AI thinks are the best and most correct match. Sometimes it makes mistakes, and sometimes people game the system to rank incorrect or misleading results higher.
However, there are also times when Google can’t decide whether search results are correct or authoritative. It says that this usually happens when a topic is still “rapidly evolving,” like in the case of breaking news. In such situations, reliable sources accredited by Google haven’t provided their data yet.
For such search queries, Google is now putting up a notice at the very top that the results are still changing quickly, suggesting to check back later for updates from reliable sources. This follows Google’s attempts earlier this year to let people peek into search results to give additional context to them.
These features are intended to give users better context about search results and help them make informed decisions whether to trust a source or not. Whether users will take the time to read such notices or dig into additional information to inform themselves is, however, a different question entirely.