Tool was disabled in February; company stated that it was testing ways to organize filters

*Por Sarah Scire

News publishers are rightly concerned about the changes coming to Google Search. Artificial intelligence-produced content replacing links in some of the internet’s most valuable spaces, in particular, has left media professionals with many questions, starting with the question: “Is this going to be a traffic-destroying nightmare?”.

The disappearance of the news filter from Google search results for some users this week won’t help publishers sleep easier.

Google confirmed that some users were not seeing the news filter as part of ongoing testing. “We are testing different ways to show filters in search and as a result a small subset of users were temporarily unable to access some of them”said a spokesperson for big tech in an email.

On February 22, Google clarified that testing that removed the news filter for some users had been completed. “The news filter is available to users now and we have no plans to remove it”confirmed a company spokesperson.

I use the news tab frequently – several times a day, every day – and I noticed it disappearing on Wednesday (Feb 20). The featured filters –Images, Videos, Maps, Flights, Shopping, Insights, etc.– change and rearrange themselves depending on the search term, but this was different.

I wasn’t seeing the news tab as an option in search, even if I looked in the “All filters” drop-down menu. I tried with “Julian Assange”, “public subsidies for sports stadiums” and “Reckon layoffs”. None showed the news filter as an option.

The next day, on another computer, my news filter was (thankfully) back. But some other users confirmed that I wasn’t alone.

*Sarah Scire is a deputy editor at Nieman Lab. Previously, she worked at Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism. She also went through The New York Times.

Text translated by Eduarda Teixeira. Read the original in English.

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