Whether you’re searching for the latest on COVID-19, 401K tips, or a new job opportunity, Google is making it easier to understand where information comes from.
Simply tap the menu icon (three vertical dots) next to individual search results to learn more about their origins. The “About this result” feature is rolling out first in the US on desktop, mobile web, and Android.
“With this additional context, you can make a more informed decision about the sites you may want to visit and what results will be most useful for you,” product manager JK Kearns wrote in a blog announcement.
People are usually drawn to familiar sources—the same news outlets, retailers, and corporations they usually turn to. But the internet is vast, and we only have a limited amount of time to spend doing further research about untested websites. Enter Google: When available, you’ll see a description of the page from Wikipedia, providing context and, often, peace of mind, “especially if you’re looking for something important, like health or financial information,” Kearns said.
The new feature should be taken with a grain of salt, though, considering its heavy reliance on an open-collaborative online encyclopedia, which lets basically anyone add and edit content. Wikipedia editors undoubtedly make mistakes, let personal bias slip in, and have not covered every corner of the internet. In that case, Google may provide supplementary details, like when it first indexed the page. The overflow menu also highlights whether your connection to the website is secure, based on its use of the HTTPS protocol.