Google's Personal Blocklist Feature Lets Users Ban Websites From Search Results

02/15/2011 12:48 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Google has released an experimental extension for its Chrome browser that will allow users to block "content farms" from appearing in Google search results.

Content farms, websites that specialize in producing tons of material--no matter the quality--to maximize their traffic from search queries, often appear at the top of a list of search results, sometimes crowding out better, original material.

Google Chrome's Personal Blocklist extension lets users eliminate unwanted websites from search results. Users who download the extension also can edit their block lists, if they wish.

Google will take note of the sites that users block and could possibly use these data to up the quality of its search results. "If installed, the extension also sends blocked site information to Google, and we will study the resulting feedback and explore using it as a potential ranking signal for our search results," according to a blog post by Googler Matt Cutts.

Reactions to the effort are mixed. "We welcome Personal Blocklist extension as a great tool for personalizing search results," writes Mashable. TechCrunch is not so convinced, writing that most users won't ever use the extension. "There is also the possibility that rival content farms can use the tool to sabotage each other," TechCrunch adds. VentureBeat says that users could block sites that are uninteresting, rather than targeting spammy search results.

Nevertheless, a personal blocklist may prove to be a step in the right direction.

Check out the screenshot (below) to see how Chrome applies the extension to search results. In the comments, tell us if you think this feature will lead to less spam in Google's search list, and if you find it helpful.


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