At present, Google generates results based on the search engine's perceived relevance of content to a particular term and the time at which any particular piece of data or story is first published online. In the patent filings, Google concedes that while its existing system often generates thousands of results in response to individual search terms, the stories it unearths have no degree of worth assigned to them and may not come from reputable publishers.
"While each of the hits in (a list of search results) may relate to (a) desired topic, the news sources associated with these hits, however, may not be of uniform quality," Google said in the filing. "Therefore, there exists a need for systems and methods for improving the ranking of news articles based on the quality of the news source with which the articles are associated."
The company goes on to describe how content published by news outlets such as CNN and BBC, or companies that are "widely regarded as high quality sources of accuracy of reporting, professionalism in writing," may be of greater interest to its customers, and therefore should top news search results.