Google's killing spree continues: shuts down blocked sites feature

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 24, 2013
Updated • Jul 5, 2019

And here goes another product feature. Google has been retiring many of its products, services and product features in recent time in several so-called Spring cleaning rounds. The company only recently announced the closure of the RSS feed reading service Google Reader and several other products.

Today it became known that Google removed the blocked sites feature rather quietly from Google Search. The feature enabled users of Google's search engine to block select websites from appearing in the search results. That was quite handy to keep low quality sites from appearing in your search results.

Basically, if you added a domain to your blocked sites list you'd make sure that it would never again appear in the search results. Google for some time displayed a "block all domain results" when users returned to the search results after visiting one of the sites displayed on the page.

If you open the manage blocked sites page today on Google you are greeted with the message that the feature has been discontinued.

Manage Blocked Sites (DISCONTINUED)
Dear users,

We have discontinued offering the blocked sites feature for now. We continue to offer the Chrome extension for blocking sites, and will reconsider features for blocking unwanted search results in the future.

You may download your blocked sites list as a text file below.

Download as text file

manage blocked sites discontinued

You can download a text file from Google that contains all of the domains that have been blocked by the Google account accessing the website.

The text file lists all domain names in a file called blocked_sites.txt. All domain names seem to be lumped together though in the text document so that it may be difficult to distinguish them from each other or import them into another script or program. They show up lumped together in Notepad but will display fine in better text editors such as Notepad++.

Google is promoting the company's official Chrome extension to block sites on Google Search when you are using Google Chrome. It fails to mention solutions for other browsers.

Update: The company pulled the extension, it is no longer available. Chrome users may install third-party extensions such as Search Blocklist instead which offer similar functionality. End

Firefox users can take a look at the Google Domain Blocker userscript which lets them block domains in Google Search as well.

It is interesting to note that blocked sites was not Google's first attempt at adding a feature like it to its search engine. This may mean that we may see a similar feature appearing again in the future.

Google's killing spree continues: shuts down blocked sites feature
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Google's killing spree continues: shuts down blocked sites feature
Google announced in 2013 that it would retire the option to block sites from the company's search engine
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  1. Rick said on March 25, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Never relied on Google’s block. Was not very usable really – have to open a webpage to add a domain, save, and reload. Yawn – got tired just thinking about blocking this way.

    Fantastic script (greasemonkey / scriptish for firefox, Chrome with Tampermonkey) that adds a “block” button beside each google, startpage, duckduckgo search.

    Simple to use, and with mozbackup, the settings are saved with an export/import.

  2. Brian Williams said on March 25, 2013 at 10:59 am

    The moral of the story is not to trust big corporations offering freebies. All they want to do is kill the competition, and they will drop you when they don’t need you anymore, like a used condom.

  3. Ken Saunders said on March 25, 2013 at 3:52 am

    “Google’s killing spree continues” LOL!

    “It fails to mention solutions for other browsers.”
    That’s weak. I understand Google’s business tactics, but Google wants everyone to be locked into Google and use everything Google. I mean everything. That’s not good for anyone.

    “Firefox greets me with a page explaining my rights as a user of open source software. Chrome greets me with… sigh… Chrome greets me with a f******g advertisement for a Chromebook”

    If you use Google products, especially new ones, you’re a guinea pig, a test group, etc. If they can get enough people using something, and monetize it somehow, then they’ll more than likely keep it going and invest more resources into it.

    I was the biggest Google supporter and I still like some of their services, but I just feel as if I’m being used when I use any of their products and services and I’m being taken for granted. The last time that happened was when MS abandoned IE6 and it has taken me nearly 9 years to start using their products again (aside from the OS).

    MS got their act together quite a bit and were humbled and they are still trying to climb back in some areas but that was all due to people dumping their products for others and the fact that competitors put out some great alternatives. Mozilla was one, and Google was another.

    Funny how Google isn’t learning from MS’s mistakes.

    1. Edwin said on March 25, 2013 at 11:50 am

      Well said, my sentiments exactly.

  4. Anonymous said on March 24, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    eh..winblows users and their gui crap

    1. Ken Saunders said on March 25, 2013 at 8:15 am

      Wow, I’ve never met anyone that computes exclusively through a command line in a console window. I’m impressed.

  5. byte said on March 24, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Are they really lumped together or is it that they’re just using Unix style LF instead of CRLF for newlines so in plain Windows Notepad it looks lumped?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 24, 2013 at 5:56 pm

      You are correct, I only opened them in Notepad. They show up one domain per line in notepad++.

  6. Glenn said on March 24, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    I’ve begun to seriously consider retiring Google from my list of “go to” sites. I think I can make do without the “new” Google… worth a try anyway.

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