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Google brings Photo Fact Check tools to combat misinformation

Google has launched three new ways to better fact-check photos and combat misinformation online. The new methods are- About this Image, Fact Check Explorer, and Search Generative Experience.  

Google is the most used search engine in the world and Google takes an active part in making sure it stays universally default even on Apple platforms. But that also comes with caveats of course. The online space can be a vague space with lots of misinformation which can jeopardize the “truth.” We all know how much the idea of fake news spread during the Trump-Clinton presidential campaign. Google and social media receive much scrutiny for not doing enough to contain the misinformation.

But in recent times, deep fakes, and AI-generated images have deepened the potential crisis further. However, mitigating measures are being taken. Consistent with this, Google has brought new tools that will help users identify fake images online to better navigate the truth. Let’s understand them better.

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About this image

It’s not the newest feature to start with. Google launched the “About this image,” feature in early 2022 and now, it’s been rolled out to the global users in Google Search.

As per a Google blog post, The tool enables users to verify the authenticity of the images. Users can check the background of the image to pinpoint their origin helping ultimately in confirming the originality of the image.   

Find image history

With About this image feature, you can find an image’s history on Google search. Conscious users can use this tool to find out if the image has been published before on any other website.  

How the image is described

The tool also feeds to the users how the image is viewed or described on other websites. It allows to cross-check fact-checks to stay safe from being manipulated.

Get the image’s metadata

The tool also gives users access to the image’s metadata which will be there in the original file of Google AI-generated images. Metadata includes information such as the date of creation, author, file name, theme, etc.

Fact Check Explorer gets image-searching

This one’s particularly for fact-checkers and journalists. The tool offers a way for users to access insights into the image and related topics. You can use this enhancement to fact-checks run by independent fact-checkers worldwide.

Google says, “This summer, we released a global beta version which lets you upload or copy the URL of any image into the Fact Check Explorer and see if it has been featured anywhere in an existing fact check. This version also provides an overview of the different contexts associated with the image and their evolution over time.”

Currently, a beta version of the Image Search feature is made available within the FactCheck Claim Search API. This allows journalists and fact-checkers to access the fact-check image database through the Fact Check Explorer using an API.

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Search Generative Experience for deeper information about sources

Google search users who use Search Generative Experience (SGE) through Search Labs are now equipped to check on the AI-generated descriptions of sources.

Google will run this feature by offering insights about reputed websites that talk about the concerned topics. Users will get the links to the websites within the AI-generated descriptions available in the “more about this page” section of the “About this result” for specific sources.

AI capabilities are growing so is the threat of misinformation and manipulation. But the same AI capabilities can counter rogue activities, let’s hope.

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