Google is now prioritizing 'original reporting'

The search giant has tweaked its secret search sauce for a news boost.

Rae Hodge Former senior editor
Rae Hodge was a senior editor at CNET. She led CNET's coverage of privacy and cybersecurity tools from July 2019 to January 2023. As a data-driven investigative journalist on the software and services team, she reviewed VPNs, password managers, antivirus software, anti-surveillance methods and ethics in tech. Prior to joining CNET in 2019, Rae spent nearly a decade covering politics and protests for the AP, NPR, the BBC and other local and international outlets.
Rae Hodge
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The Google logo on a wall at the company's Australian headquarters in Sydney, 16

What's the Google's secret search sauce? Now it includes a directive to boost the amount of original news reporting in your search results. 

Fairfax Media/Getty Images

Google has tweaked its search engine to make sure users searching for news are served more varieties across news for a longer amount of time. The updates will "elevate original reporting," a Google executive said in a Thursday blog post.

The search giant wants to "provide people with a deeper understanding of their changing communities and the conversations going on around them," said Google News VP Richard Gringas.

Citing a need to help quality journalism stay afloat in the internet's constant flood of new information, Gringas said the site's search rater guidelines were updated with a mandate to use the highest rating, "very high quality," for original news reporting.

That rank is awarded to original reporting "that provides information that would not otherwise have been known had the article not revealed it. Original, in-depth and investigative reporting requires a high degree of skill, time and effort."

The site's search raters are also now instructed to consider the reputation of a news site, which might be improved by a history of high-quality reporting or prestigious awards like the Pulitzer Prize. 

The move comes more than a year after US President Donald Trump accused Google, without evidence, of rigging news search results against him, and barely a month after Trump slammed Google CEO Sundar Pichai with an accusation of intent to rig the 2020 presidential election.

"We are watching Google very closely!" the president tweeted, referencing a Wall Street Journal profile of former Google engineer Kevin Cernekee, who says he was fired for being a conservative. 

Another former Google engineer alleged that Cernekee attempted to foster support among colleagues for neo-Nazi and white nationalist groups

Google told CNBC Cernekee was fired for a host of company privacy violations like downloading internal Google documents to his personal device.