On January 22, Google added a feature to search to help you verify the authority of publishers online. This information automatically shows up in your search results when “when a site is widely recognized as notable online, when there is enough information to show or when the content may be handy for you”. Read the Google blog post to see what else Google had to say about this change.
I was trying to share this feature with a colleague today and it had dissappeared. Well, not really. As it turns out, the extra information showed up when I performed searches on google.com but not when I used a regional google search page such as google.ca or google.cz. This extra information shows up as a grey hyperlink to the right of the site URL.
When you click on the grey arrow, a dropdown box provides information taken from Wikipedia about the organization responsible for publishing the web page, as in the case of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences shown below.
I think that this is a great feature to help people evaluate websites. However, one shouldn’t depend on it too much. For example, the Missouri botanical gardens is likely a reliable source on water pollution but my search didn’t provide any gray indicator of additional information to suggest credibility.