When there’s a major current event such as a natural disaster or something everyone is talking about, the first place most people think to check these days for ongoing updates regarding it is Twitter. Tweeting things out is fast, and those close to the scene usually have valuable insights into the situation as they provide a feed of information.
The last place you likely go for this type of rapid-fire data is Google News. However, according to The Information, Google is looking to change that with something called “Big Moments” – a feature for the service that it’s been working on for over a year now. Big Moments is being developed by a small team that’s led by 17 year Google veteran Elizabeth Reid. She’s a senior executive for Search and previously worked on Maps and Maps-related tools like My Business.
Because of its inability to deliver timely updates on things like the U.S. Capitol siege that took place on January 6, 2021, the company is reportedly developing a new way for us to engage with its content. Instead of processing new articles using its current algorithms, it’s creating a way to spotlight situations related to health crises, terrorism, entertainment and sporting events, and more as they unfold.
That’s right, Google News may soon toss information in front of you in real-time. Let’s say there’s an updated death or injury count for a crisis, or you’d like to see the frequency of hurricanes in your area – you’d know about it immediately. Based on what The Information says, government data for these statistics could be pulled into Google News from places like Data Commons, in order to make sure the news you’re seeing is accurate, authoritative, and instantaneously up-to-date.
Concerns have risen over Google’s decision to potentially curate the news with Big Moments using an editorial eye and hand-crafted algorithms that favor specific content over others instead of using its Full Coverage AI and machine learning – a tool that’s known to provide users with many sources so they can gain their own understanding of what’s happening.
While there’s no release date at this time for the feature, it will likely roll out soon. When it does, you should be able to view Big Moments (a catchy name for sure) in your Google News feed and on the web via Google Search while hunting for information regarding the aforementioned types of current events. Let us know if you think this is a slippery slope (Is that rhetorical?) or if you’re interested in using this feature.