What's Project Owl All About?

May 4, 2017

Project Owl isn’t J.K. Rowling’s latest addition to the Harry Potter universe. (Unfortunately.) It’s Google’s latest effort to improve search quality and reduce the spread of inaccurate or misleading information.

While Google is constantly adjusting its algorithm, the Project Owl announcement is big news for the fake news epidemic.

Read owl—ahem—all about Project Owl and what it means for search.

 

“Search can always be improved”

In Google’s Project Owl announcement, the VP of Engineering Ben Gomes states that “search can always be improved.” Since the company’s inception, Google has constantly strived to refine its results.

According to the post, .25% of Google’s daily traffic pulls up offensive or misleading results. Since Google sees almost 6 billion searches per day, this seemingly small percentage does affect a hefty number of results.

 

The Project Owl breakdown

That’s where Project Owl comes in. It’s Google’s longer-term effort to “provide people with access to relevant information from the most reliable sources available.” So what’s exactly part of this effort?

1) New Search Quality Rater Guidelines

2) A new direct feedback form for search suggestions

From the Google blog.

 

3) A new feedback form for “Featured Snippets” answers

 

 

From the Google blog. 

For a more comprehensive explanation of Project Owl’s tactics, check out this detailed Search Engine Land post.

 

TL;DR

Here’s the TL;DR version courtesy of our Director of SEO & Content, Justin McIntyre:

“Google is kicking up its efforts against fake news. It won’t stamp out the issue entirely—but it is good to know that the search giant is recognizing its complicity and taking steps to improve the problem.”

Senior Manager, Copywriting & Content Strategy
Kayla Hammersmith is a huge fan of Nancy Drew computer games and swears that she can do a very specific impression of Pal, the dog from Arthur. You might often find her snacking on goat cheese as she dreams of one day becoming a cellist savant.

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