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As reported by the Poynter Institute, 70% of respondents lacked confidence in their ability to discern the authenticity of online images.
To enhance users’ ability to assess online information, Google has recently unveiled various image fact-checking and source credibility tools. These updates are designed to bolster users’ confidence when navigating the web and address the rampant spread of online misinformation and AI content.
This effort supplements the recent constant updates to Google algorithms to provide users with quality content.
Feature 1: About This Image
Google has included the “About This Image” feature, available worldwide. This feature equips users with valuable insights into the history, usage, and metadata of images found online. It allows users to:
- Discover an image’s history, including when it first surfaced on the internet, aiding in identifying out-of-context or manipulated images.
- Explore how other websites use and describe the image, referencing news and fact-checking sources for a more comprehensive understanding.
- Access image metadata, highlighting AI-generated images with a distinct markup.
These capabilities empower users to discern the credibility and context of the images. It can be accessed by clicking the three dots menu next to images in Google search engine result pages (SERPs).
Feature 2: Fact-Check Explorer for Newsrooms
Fact-Check Explorer, Google’s global database comprising fact-checks from independent organisations, has expanded to include image search capabilities.
This tool is particularly beneficial for journalists and fact-checkers. Users can upload or provide image URLs to discover if a particular image has been fact-checked. The tool also offers insights into the evolving contexts associated with these images over time, streamlining the fact-checking process.
To further enhance its utility, Google is introducing a beta version of Image Search functionality in the FactCheck Claim Search API. Approved journalists and fact-checkers will soon be able to search the fact-check image corpus and integrate this knowledge into their solutions. This integration will facilitate quicker investigations and create unique products for readers.
Feature 3: Search Generative Experience (SGE)
Google recognises the importance of evaluating the credibility of information sources. Hence, it now offers AI-generated descriptions of lesser-known websites for users who opted into the Search Generative Experience (SGE) through Search Labs. These descriptions are supported by information from high-quality sites discussing the website.
This feature can be found in the “more about this page” section of the search results. While it’s still in its initial stages, this technology aims to support and supplement existing efforts to promote information literacy.
These latest developments are a response to the increasing challenge of verifying the authenticity and reliability of online images and sources.
Whether seeking to verify a peculiar image or gain context about a source, Google is committed to providing tools and resources to enhance your confidence in navigating the digital landscape.
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