Google Now Lets You Block Unwanted Search Results

Google has released a new feature in its attempt to clean up search results: now logged-in users can block websites they don’t want to see.

The new feature is rolling out initially on in English for people using Chrome 9+, IE8+ and Firefox 3.5+, and Google said it will be available in new regions, languages and browsers soon. Photo: Spencer E Holtaway/Flickr

Google recently rewrote their search algorithm to make “low-quality websites” disappear from front page results, putting the emphasis on better, more relevant answers with original content and in-depth information.

And now Google has added a new feature to their search system that lets you gives you some of the control of what you see in your results.

You probably search using Google everyday, and I bet you’ve happened across some scam sites from time to time. Maybe there was something offensive in your search results.

Or, maybe, it was just spam, porno, or content farms — something you never want to see again. Well, now you can do something about it. There’s no official name for Google’s new feature, but it lets you block unwanted websites from ever appearing in your search results.

“Perhaps the result just wasn’t quite right, but sometimes you may dislike the site in general, whether it’s offensive, pornographic or of generally low quality,” Google outlined the latest move in a blog post. “For times like these, you’ll start seeing a new option to block particular domains from your future search results.”

Google last month launched a Chrome extension with the exact same functionality, but the search giant has now made it an official feature. Whenever you head back to Google after checking out a search result, it will display an option to block all results from that domain.

“Now when you click a result and then return to Google, you’ll find a new link next to “Cached” that reads “Block all results,” write Google’s Search Quality Engineers Amay Champaneria and Beverly Yang in a blog post.

Once a website is blocked, you can either manage your blocked sites or undo the block. You have to be logged in to your Google account in order to save a blocked website. Search results with blocked results will display a message saying how many results were blocked.

Google said in its announcement Thursday that it’s adding this feature to provide a more personalized Google experience, but if Google’s Personal Blocklist extension is any indication, the company is also trying to clean up spam within search. By having users pick out low-quality websites, Google can quickly pinpoint spam and content farms.

Champaneria and Yang wrote that data about sites getting blocked will not be used to inform more general search results for other users.

However, they also wrote, that “while we’re not currently using the domains people block as a signal in ranking, we’ll look at the data and see whether it would be useful as we continue to evaluate and improve our search results in the future.”

Such data would, it is likely, allow Google to step up its fight against spam and so-called “content farms”, which chase web traffic simply by writing about subjects that are popular search terms.

The new feature is rolling out initially on in English for people using Chrome 9+, IE8+ and Firefox 3.5+, and Google said it will be available in new regions, languages and browsers soon. [Google Blog via The Telegraph (UK) and Mashable]

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