Google says it’s implementing AI and machine learning techniques to improve story suggestions in Google Search. In a blog post this morning, the tech giant announced that users in the U.S. in English (with more languages and locations to come in the next few months) who search for a news topic will now see an article carousel at the top of the results page, and that when there are multiple stories related to a search, each will be organized by relevance and quality in a way that accounts for a diversity of perspectives.
“People come to Search for all types of information to help them form a better understanding of the world and the topics they care about most,” wrote Google Search product manager Duncan Osborn. “We’ve continued to bring new improvements to Search to help people better orient themselves around a topic and easily explore related ideas, so they can more quickly go from having a question in mind to developing deeper understanding … Our research has shown that clustering results into clearly-defined stories is critical in helping people easily navigate the results and identify the best content for their needs.”
Osborn says that now, Google Search structures story results with better context. For example, if you search for “NASA news,” you might see results grouped under the distinct news stories “NASA adds five companies to moon bid” and “NASA detects water vapor on Jupiter’s moon Europa,” along with additional results under “Also in the news.”
Powering this experiencing is a new story-understanding technology that maps the people, places and things involved in a news story and then draw connections between them. Distinct groups of news articles are created, in part informed by AI architectures like Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT), which Google recently deployed to Search to improved help better understand the intent behind users’ search queries.
Alongside these improvements, Google says it’s now featuring key information (such as noteable quotes and related opinion pieces) in the top stories carousel within Search. It’s an attempt to provide a “more well-rounded” preview of a news’s tone and tenor, and a part of a longer-term effort to expand the types of journalistic contributions Google highlights to users in Search.
“We hope these updates help people engage with the most relevant information and build a deeper understanding of the world around them,” said Osborn.