Technology Google Search Shows Suspect Sites for Drug, Baby Teether: Study
Google search is getting personalized TV and movie recommendations
They’ll show up directly in search
(Bloomberg) -- Google searches for a popular antibiotic and a baby teething product send some users to suspect websites, according to a report released on Monday by a firm that tracks trademark and copyright infringement online.
Earlier this year, six of the 10 results on the first page for the Google search “buy Bactrim online” showed links to websites that were “operating unlawfully and misusing” the Bactrim trademark, Incopro Ltd. said in the study.
Another Google search for “wholesale Comotomo teether” produced nine organic results that directed users to an online marketplace or e-commerce website. Three of those sites listed “potentially harmful products that misuse the Comotomo trademark,” Incopro also reported.
Google puts drug addiction recovery info front and center
The opioid epidemic is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths per year. Google hopes to make it easier for the 23 million Americans in recovery to find a support group or find a pharmacy where they can purchase naloxone, the opioid-overdose reversal drug. The tech giant announced today that in honor of National Recovery Month it will be launching two new tools that will help connect recovering opioid addicts with resources. Through the Recovery Maps Locator, users can find more than 33,000 locations that offer support services for those dealing with opioid addiction. This includes school-based support, or family support services.
The results are based on searches Incopro ran using its software and data from web marketing firm SimilarWeb Ltd. Incopro wrote to Alphabet Inc.’s Google about its findings and the company said it got a written response from the internet giant, which it quoted in the study.
“Google aggregates information published on the web returning users different web pages that relate to their search requests, but we don’t make any claims about the content of these pages,” Google wrote in its response, according to Incopro.
Google has had a mixed record in dealing with contentious websites, Incopro said. The internet giant will remove website addresses from its search index for infringing copyright. But it won’t act when it is told that its search engine is pointing to sites selling counterfeits and infringing trademark rights, Incopro said. The firm noted that that other large internet companies including Facebook Inc., EBay Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. will take action in these cases.
Google Maps adds tools to find drug addiction recovery resources
The features aim to combat the opioid crisis.
“Google takes the view that it is not (and cannot be) a ‘publisher’ when it is told that it is returning results for counterfeit web pages and so it does nothing,” Incopro wrote in its report. “If Google did remove these websites from their index these sites would be starved of oxygen and would fail.”
The study suggests that Google search results for antibiotics are still showing suspect websites almost as much as they were three years ago, when another report from the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies showed 65% of search results for prescription drug terms led U.S. consumers to sites selling unapproved and dangerous medication.
Search engines like Google should do more to protect consumers from unsafe results, Incopro said. “The FDA and other government bodies have limited resources and cannot be expected to solve every problem,” the report said. “Brand owners should be able to request that search engines de-index these sites themselves.”
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Gnews will no longer display sites that hide their origin
The fight against the Fake News continues in the giants of the net. Google has announced a new change in its rules for its Google News service that lists the articles on the websites: they will no longer be able to hide their origin or their intentions. A novelty that may well have a major impact on influence campaigns in the future.
Fake News has become the number one enemy of net giants, especially Google, Facebook and social networks, since they were accused of influencing the 2016 US presidential election.Transparency requirement for the sites on Google News
All the sites referenced by Google are not on Google News, far from it: to be accepted on the service of Google which lists the news in the world it is necessary to answer a whole series of precise criteria, as much on the content as on the form or on the construction of the website itself. Now a new parameter will come into play.
Google directly targets the sites responsible for false information by prohibiting access to Google News sites that hide their origin. For example, a Russian site that talks about the United States without explicitly displaying its country of origin will no longer be listed in Google News. What makes the difference between sites created to spread false information and online newspaper sites.Reducing the scope of false information to reduce its impact
Google's goal is simple: by reducing the display of sites created explicitly to launch false information, the giant hope it will reduce the impact on the world. This makes sense: if fewer people read these articles, fewer people will share them on social media.
It remains to be seen what real impact this decision will have, especially on the smaller sites. Especially since the deployment of these new rules will take time: the rules will probably hit the sites immediately that ask to be integrated with Google News and then apply to sites already present in the service and will be dereferenced.
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