Google's search ranking boss says its recent algorithm change helps get users the freshest results, but only when freshness matters
- On Thursday, Google told Business Insider there's a recent change to its search algorithm that it wants users to know about.
- When searching for something in which timeliness matters, Google will now surface the freshest, most-up-to-date information in its featured snippet boxes.
- "Featured snippets have been around for a while now and it's just that as we add features like this, the quality of those featured snippets improves a little bit more," Pandu Nayak, Google's VP of Search, told BI in a recent interview. "They become slightly more relevant and slightly more useful."
- Google says the algorithm change will also help search results become more accurate over time.
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Google said the update will be especially important for health-related searches, like a food-recall, when surfacing the most up-to-date information can be critical.Still, Google's Nayak says not all cases require the freshest results. When searching for, "Why is the sky red at sunset," for instance, the best answer may be found on an older page.
A major part of what Nayak and his team had to solve for with the recent update was understanding when fresher content would actually provide more useful results.
"The notion of needing freshness is a little bit subtle," Nayak said. "It's not always easy."The search boss also told us that the update wasn't the first time his team had applied freshness as a filter. The "Top Stories" feature, for instance, has taken recency into consideration for years.
"Every change we make has wins and losses," Nayak said. "And we've got to make sure the wins truly outweigh the losses."Get the latest Google stock price here.
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