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Google changes how it decides which product reviews come up in Search

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Google wants to ensure you see high-quality reviews

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Google announced Wednesday it’s making some improvements to how it decides which product reviews it shows in Search results. The idea behind these and other recent product reviews updates is to ensure that reviews you see are high quality and actually include helpful information about a product you might be considering buying.

The improvements build on earlier updates “to make sure that product reviews in Search meet certain criteria,” Google’s Perry Liu said in a blog post. Here are some examples of the criteria Liu says the company is looking for:

Include helpful in-depth details, like the benefits or drawbacks of a certain item, specifics on how a product performs or how the product differs from previous versions

Come from people who have actually used the products, and show what the product is physically like or how it’s used

Include unique information beyond what the manufacturer provides — like visuals, audio or links to other content detailing the reviewer’s experience

Cover comparable products, or explain what sets a product apart from its competitors

The updates announced Wednesday will roll out “over the next few weeks” and “may impact the rankings of English-language product reviews across many sites,” Google said in a separate post. The company also plans to “open up product review support for more languages” in the future.

The updates arrive amidst some criticism that Google’s search results aren’t quite as useful as they used to be. We’ll have to wait and see if these product review changes make it easier to find quality reviews, but they seem like they could be a small step in the right direction.