Google’s manual site blocker goes live
Google, Australia's favourite search engine, has struck another blow against spammers today with the launch of a tool that allows users to manually block domains from appearing in their search results.
The move was announced earlier this month as part of a renewed effort to prevent sites publishing spammy, low quality content from achieving top rankings.
Now, users of Chrome, Google's web browser, can install an extension that enables them to black list websites they consider irrelevant, uninteresting or spammy.
Google totally dominates the search space in Australia, but only a minority of the web community uses its Chrome browser, which limits the scope of this new tool.
However, Google has said the information it gathers from personal block lists might inform its wider search results.
"Today we're launching an early, experimental Chrome extension so people can block sites from their web search results," Google said in an official blog post. "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."
This means the actions of the relatively small number of people who download and use the extension could have ramifications for the results that we all see when we run a Google search. By doing this, Google is effectively deputising Chrome users into its anti-spam police.
As the JC Penny back link scandal demonstrated recently, even with Google's continuing efforts to improve its search results and punish websites that break its rules, the sheer volume of search activity means some dodgy practices still slip under the radar.