While a search on Google gives links with content, it’s important to know that the writers who created those links can be known, or unknown, and the legitimacy of the information is often questionable. The authors of some articles may, or may not, have actual knowledge in the area they are writing about. However, search results appear based on a ranking system that follows various factors, like the collective popularity of certain sites or the preferences of the user.
The Algorithms That Google Uses Are Not Based On Accuracy
Google does not give search results based on the accuracy of the information on every website. The ranking system sorts through billions of web pages in a fraction of a second and indexes them to find what is the most relevant and useful information based on the search. Sometimes, mistakes can occur, and the algorithms being used may never become foolproof. Therefore, Google users should do what they can to make sure they receive accurate answers to their questions and remain diligent during research.
Google Uses Hundreds of Factors to Give Its Users Search Results
Questions can get millions of different answers online and Google has to go through all of them to decide which ones to show on the top of the first page. There are over 200 known factors that the website’s algorithms use to analyze and rank the results. The main ones are well-known but can still be vague. These include the keywords being used and their meaning, the relevance and usability of the web page, the quality of the content, and more. There are also user-specific factors like the user’s location and details around their profile.
Existing research has shown that users pay more attention to results that were ranked higher by Google, so many companies and content creators use known ways to ensure their website makes it to the top results of the first page.
Because of all the factors that go into the mix before Google gives its users results, the users, themselves, should pay attention to the way they search for information if they want to get accurate results. Even so, there are good practices that people can use during their research, and they are based on a shortlist of facts that have to be taken into consideration. For example, a Google user must always consider that a search would bring the top-ranked pages which are most relevant to the search terms. Therefore, using good search terms and considering context and the inclusion of certain terms, can affect the result.
There are other ways Google users can improve their experience with the website. They can start with a simple search before adding more descriptive terms or look if the content they are considering was published from verifiable sources. A quick check if a source is reliable can be done by looking for the author’s credentials or information sources at the bottom of an article. Another useful trick many people use is negating the viewing of personalized results by going into incognito mode.
People who prefer doing research online should know that Google is not the only search engine out there. There are several other options available for those who want to try something else, and those include Yahoo, Baidu, DuckDuckGo, Ecosia, and Bing.
Amazon Sidewalk Is Available for a Week, Starting June 8th
Users of Amazon’s Ring and Echo devices have only a week to opt out of Sidewalk, the company’s shady new IoT service. On June 8th, the functionality will go live, promising to share an encrypted sliver of your home network with the networks of other nearby Amazon IoT device users to “enhance services.” Unless you tell it otherwise, Amazon will automatically enroll you in Sidewalk, which, as you might expect, might lead to some unwelcome privacy and security concerns down the road.
What Is Amazon Sidewalk, Exactly?
Sidewalk works by combining a limited, encrypted section of a user’s personal network with that of other Amazon product customers in the area. It’s simply a bandwidth-sharing agreement that, in certain circumstances, guarantees better service for devices. Amazon provides examples of a smart lighting device installed at the perimeter of a user’s property or a garage door lock installed in an area with limited coverage. In both cases, the product may use Sidewalk to get “connectivity support from a participating neighbor’s gateway,” allowing it to keep running even if “the device remains offline for a period of time,” as the company puts it. Similarly, Amazon claims that Sidewalk may be used to improve the connectivity of pet-tracking devices, allowing for the continuous tracking of a missing dog or cat that has ventured outside of a pet owner’s personal network.
Despite its pledges to protect your data, Amazon has a poor track record in this area; it’s very bad at it. Consider the case of Ring. Since the tech giant bought it for $1 billion in 2018, the Amazon subsidiary, which offers a neighborhood watch app and smart home security system (and thus operates as a quasi-surveillance network for the country’s police agencies), has had a series of privacy issues. According to Gizmodo’s investigation, the company’s Neighbors app had mistakenly disclosed the geo-coordinates of certain Ring users, which was only one of multiple privacy lapses discovered. A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Ring as a result of the cameras’ hackability.
Amazon maintains that Sidewalk has “well-built privacy rules” that regulate how it “collects, stores, and uses metadata.” Sidewalk has even released a short “white paper” outlining the program’s privacy and security features, which include Sidewalk’s three-layered encryption. This may sound remarkable, but it’s a cold consolation when you consider that there are hackers who sit around all day and idle away the hours attempting to come up with ingenious ways to exploit scenarios similar to the one presented by Sidewalk.