Google most trusted source for news and information

Newspapers, and legacy media in general, have always thought that a key competitive advantage is being viewed as a “trusted source” of news and information.

You’ve heard the punch line: “I saw it on the Internet, it must be true.”

While newspapers don’t have the technical prowness of a Google (or any number of Silicon Valley companies) or the “metabolism” (the new buzz term) of a Buzzfeed or a Gawker, or the scale of Yahoo, they owned “trusted source.”

So the thinking goes … until it collides with changing audience perceptions.

The 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer shows search engines (that means Google) have become the most trusted source of  general news and information among the “informed public” (college-educated, affluent, media consumers).

It’s trend that continues to see the number of people decline who turn to newspapers as a first source of general information or breaking news and as a source to validate business news.


TV’s influence is holding up better, holding flat or declining (instead of just declining). It has passed newspapers as source for general information, but it’s mostly a race to own the bottom. Search is tied with TV as a source for breaking news and is by far the first source used to confirm or validate news.

And when it comes to social networks, we’re most trusting of our family and friends than journalists. I’m not sure what that means if your friends and family are journalists?

The shift in trust is even more pronounced among “informed public” Millennials, where search enignes are the most trusted source for 72 percent vs 64 percent for traditional media (a slightly higher percentage than overall).

Edelman 2015 Trust Barometer for Millenails

Although it’s not confirmed in the public-facing data, I suspect the explanation for the survey results is the convenience and perceived comprehensiveness of news-search results — also the perceived objectivity. However “trust” is a complex and opaque term that can mean a number different things to different people.

Google’s brand strength around the world is also likely a factor in these rankings.

Greg Sterling on Search Engine Land.

(Click on the images for larger views.)