Accused of bias, Google said Thursday it will make changes to its autocomplete search suggestions ahead of the U.S. presidential election.
The autocomplete feature tries to predict what someone is searching for based on what they have typed -- sometimes only a portion of the first word. Google then completes the search query based on popularity and what other people have already searched for.
“We expanded our Autocomplete policies related to elections, and we will remove predictions that could be interpreted as claims for or against any candidate or political party,” Google wrote in a post. “We will also remove predictions that could be interpreted as a claim about participation in the election — like statements about voting methods, requirements, or the status of voting locations — or the integrity or legitimacy of electoral processes, such as the security of the election.”
This means predictions like “you can vote by phone” as well as “you can't vote by phone,” or a prediction that says “donate to” any party or candidate, should not appear in Autocomplete. Whether or not a prediction appears, you can still search for whatever you’d like and find results.
Google also said it is continually improving its systems to automatically recognize breaking news around crises like natural disasters.
Recently, the company has improved its detection time from up to 40 minutes just a few years ago, to now within just a few minutes of news breaking.
Improvements in crisis events also helps to improve the detection of results for topics that might be susceptible to hateful, offensive and misleading information.