Evaluate info you find with Google

There’s a lot of info online and it can be difficult to evaluate what you find. You can use these tips to learn more about content you find online.

Learn more about a source

When you find info online, you can use Google to learn more about a source. Some things you might consider:

  • What the source is
  • Whether it’s knowledgeable about the topic
  • Why it’s sharing that info

Use these tips to learn more about how to evaluate a source. 

Learn what others say about the source

As you search for info, check the source of results you’re unfamiliar with or want to learn more about. You can use "About this result" or do a -site search.

Important: “About this result” is only available in English.

Features like “About this result” can help you evaluate:

  • What high-quality online encyclopedias say about a source
  • How a source describes itself
  • What other sites say about a source

Learn more about a source using “About this result.”

You can also do a -site search. This search option removes pages from the source’s site from your search results. For example, to learn more about the World Health Organization from other sources, search World Health Organization -site:who.int.

Tip: You might not always find a lot of results when you do a search for a source. This could mean a source is new, not well-known, or hasn’t had much written about it.

Search for the author

To learn more about the source of content, do a Google search for the author or the organization they're associated with. You may learn info about what else they’ve written or what others say about them. In your search you can:

  • Assess the author’s and organization’s credibility or expertise.
  • Use resources like high-quality online encyclopedias to learn more and find additional sources of information.
  • Check social media accounts to get a sense for what they post.
Learn from the publication date

You can assess the relevance of a piece of content based on its date of publication, if available. Some things you might consider:

  • Older info may not be as relevant for topics that change over time. 
  • Occasionally time improves the quality of info available on the web. It may take time for sources to publish reliable info about recent events and topics like medical conditions and treatment.

When you do a search, Google may display an estimated update or publishing date next to some results. On “About this result,” the "More about this page" link also provides the date when the site was first indexed by Google. You can use these dates to assess relevance and credibility.

Find information panels about the source

Next to some results are information panels that give you details about where the info comes from.

  • On some topics, like health-related topics, you might find information panels with context about the source that can help you understand where the content comes from.
  • Information panels may explain where funding for content comes from, such as government or public funding.

Check what others say about a topic

After you evaluate the source, you can also assess what other sources say about a topic to determine how credible the info is. For example, some sites copy info and don’t check it for themselves, which shares info that could be false or misleading. Use these tips to learn more about how to evaluate a topic.

Learn what others say about a topic

There are tools and features within Search that help you learn more about a topic. For example, “About this result” can help you:

  • Check what other sources say about a topic
  • Find related news coverage

Learn more about a topic using "About this result.”

Search for the topic in other ways

If you don’t find the info you want, search for a topic in different ways to get a wide range of helpful info. Some things you might consider:

  • Start with a general search, then get more specific.
  • Use neutral terms. For example, search cats as pets instead of are cats good pets.
  • Use “About this result” to check which of your search terms show up in each result (for example, “cats” and “good” versus “cats” and “bad”).
  • Try different search terms.
  • If you try multiple searches on a topic and don’t get many relevant results, the topic may be too new or may not have much written about it. You may need to wait and search again later.
  • Explore results from multiple sources, not just the top result.
Check news sources to find recent info

Find out what news sources say about a topic. Google prioritizes timely news results from authoritative sources, which can help you find helpful results more quickly. You can use news sources to verify info on a topic. Try these tips:

  • To help you find news articles relevant to a topic, under the search bar in a Google search, select News.
  • To help find content and background from additional news outlets, on Google News, select Full Coverage.
  • You may also find opinion articles that present an author’s perspective on an issue. Often there will be an “Opinion” label if an article is an opinion.
  • Use the “Top stories” section in Google Search. When Google detects a search query is news-oriented, it matches the search with relevant, quality news content to display.
Check if an image is taken out of context

To verify if an image has been altered or is being used out of context, use Image Search. For example, if it’s an old image presented as current, or if it was taken in a different place or under different circumstances than what’s being claimed.

Use Image Search to find:

  • Where the image has appeared before.
  • What people may have said about it.
  • If it's relevant for the instance of time being portrayed.
  • If it may have been altered.

Learn more about how to search with an image on Google.

Use fact checks

Fact check info from independent organizations shows up for some topics. In Google products, you may find fact check snippets or info panels when there are articles from fact checkers relevant to a topic.You can also search for content from fact checkers to help you find reliable information.

Learn more about the Google Fact Check Explorer.

Find information panels about a topic

On some Google products, you can find information panels that explain more about a topic. An information panel may show:

  • Topics that are still developing.
  • Links to fact checks by independent organizations.
  • Links to reference articles.

About the info in this article

These tips are inspired by:

  • The Civic Online Reasoning (COR) curriculum developed by the Stanford History Education Group
  • The SIFT framework developed by Mike Caulfield

Both of these sources provide strategies for how to find trustworthy sources, spot misinformation, and get evidence to back up or deny claims you find online. Google continues to research and consult experts around the world to make the guidance on this page more useful.

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