In 2011, Google rolled out a feature allowing searchers to block web sites they don’t like from appearing in its search results, which drew great attention. That got dropped last year, when Search Plus Your World was launched last January. A year later, Google says there are no firm plans for it to return.
Google’s Blocked Sites Feature
The block feature, which was released in March 2011, placed a small “block” link next to any result in Google’s listings:
Clicking on that link prevented any pages from that web site from appearing again in your results at Google.
At the time, Google said it was adding the feature to give searchers more control:
We’re adding this feature because we believe giving you control over the results you find will provide an even more personalized and enjoyable experience on Google.
Blocked Sites Goes Missing; No Plans For Return
That control was lost when Google’s “Search Plus Your World” super-personalized search results rolled out last year. The block link went missing. When asked why, Google initially said it was in the process of restoring the feature but then later said “it might take some time.”
Checking back this week, Google now says there’s no time frame at all for when or if it will be restored:
We don’t have firm plans on that feature, so nothing really concrete to share about where that’s going. But if people want to block sites, we’d recommend this Chrome extension from Google:
It should provide a lot of what people are looking for (though it doesn’t sync across all computers and only works on Chrome). People seem to like it — it has over 176K users.
Blocking Via Chrome Works; Managed Blocked Sites Page Doesn’t
The blocking tool for Chrome was the predecessor to the blocking option within Google’s results themselves. It was launched in February 2011 and remains an option, as Google notes. It’s just not as easy an option.
Some places like LifeHacker and Deadspin have noted an alternative way to block without using the Chrome extension. This is by accessing the Google “Managed Blocked Sites” page. Using the page, you can enter the sites you want to block:
That sounds promising for those who don’t use Chrome, but my testing shows it doesn’t work. You can add a site, but that doesn’t block it from your results.
You can learn a bit more about how that page is supposed to work on Google’s help page about the blocked sites feature, which also suggests that blocked links still appear in Google’s results.
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