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Google is improving its search results to protect people from online harassment

Google Search is quite heavily used all over the world so it's no surprise that the company regularly updates the service with more features and redesigns it from time to time as well. Last month, it also revealed that it is working on a new technology called Multitask Unified Model (MUM) to fetch answers to more complex search queries.

Now, Google has revealed that it will be further enhancing its Search experience to better protect people from harassment.

Google Search logo on the left with Improvements written vertically on the right

Google's existing mechanism in this domain involves people manually reporting websites which post content about them without their consent and demand payment for its removal. A common example of this is revenge porn where malicious actors post explicit, non-consensual content of a person online. As part of the current process, Google investigates the information provided by someone affected from this harassment, and then removes the page from search results while also demoting the website's overall ranking.

Now, Google plans to further enhance this process by not only targeting the malicious site but also reducing the ranking of similar "low quality" predatory websites that appear in search results. This will aid in protecting people who are targeted by repeated harassment via unfavorable information posted about them online without their consent. Google says:

Over the years of building Search, our approach has remained consistent: We take examples of queries where we’re not doing the best job in providing high quality results, and look for ways to make improvements to our algorithms. In this way, we don’t “fix” individual queries, since they’re often a symptom of a class of problems that affect many different queries. Our ability to address issues continues to lead the industry, and we’ve deployed advanced technology, tools and quality signals over the last two decades, making Search work better every day.

As highlighted, the road to enhance Search is an endless one, and Google says that it will continue evolving the experience based on feedback and the changing landscape.

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