Is Google too Trusting of Wikipedia?

I’m a massive fan of the author William Gibson who has been writing about the tech and future for the last 40 years.

His book Neuromancer, written in 1984 accurately predicted the world wide web and clearly influnced the Matrix.

Yet, he takes his time to write books.

A couple of weeks I searched Google to see if he’d published a new one and saw one was coming later on this year.

Imagine my surprise when I got this notification on my Android phone telling me that the new book was out.

However, Amazon had this

and Google News had this

so why was my phone telling me a new book was out?

Clicking on the notification took me to this Wikipedia page which had the publication date as the 2nd April

‘Published Date’ is a set field in Wikipedia which is very easy for Google to scrape. At some point, Google had scraped the date and then used to inform me that the novel was published.

Google had taken this as the authoritative source of information about the book and tied this into my previous search to keep me informed

If you search Google for william gibson agency you’ll see Wikipedia is the first result and the publishers Penguin are down in 5th place

In this case, the information was wrong

The challenge for Google remains how to tell what is the correct information.

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