The Chrome extension Personal Blocklist was apparently only the first step in Google's quest for a personalized user experience on Google Search. You may remember that Personal Blocklist was introduced to give Chrome users options to block domain names from appearing in Google's search results. The domains are simply filtered out of the results, which means that they are subtracted from the number of results. It is theoretically possible to end up with a blank page that only shows Google ads and services, if to many websites have been added to the block listing.
My initial thoughts back then were that Google would certainly use the data, at least analyse them, at worst add them to their algorithm. The effect? I know several webmasters who are already hiring Internet users to block their competition in Google.
Google today announced that they are starting to add the block option to the search pages directly. The change is rolled out today and tomorrow in the United States, other countries will follow later this year.
The option to block a domain becomes only available if a user clicks on a search result, and returns to Google by clicking the back button of the browser.
Now when you click a result and then return to Google, you’ll find a new link next to Cached that reads Block all example.com results.
A click on the block all domain results link displays a confirmation message at the top of the results, but the domain can only be blocked if you are logged into your Google Account.
Options to undo the change and to manage all blocked sites are linked from the notification as well.
The end of the search results listing displays the number of blocked results, with options to show (reveal) the blocked results and to manage the blocked sites.
The Manage Blocked Sites listing is only available to users who are signed in. Here it is possible to see a listing of all sites that have been blocked. Options are available to unblock sites, manually block a site by entering the url and optionally a reason for blocking, and to download a text file with information about all blocked sites.
The description contains an interesting sentence: "Sites will be blocked only for your, but Google may use everyone's blocking information to improve the ranking of search results overall".
This indicates that Google considers to use the blocking information as a factor in their search engine algorithm.
I may be a pessimist in this regard but I already know of webmasters who hire users to block their competition. It won't be long before the first automated competition blocking software with full proxy support and Google account creation appears on the market. (via)
Your take on this?
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