Personalise Google to block sites

March 11, 2011

For years Google has been the search engine of choice for the majority of its users but you’ve never really had control of the results it returns. Well all that’s about to change.

One problem when searching for a specific subject or item is the raft of duplicate sites or constant non-relevant results. For instance when searching for a review for a new television you get presented with a bunch of price comparison sites.  Or maybe you don’t trust the quality of information on offer at Wikipedia so now you can block this from the search results.

Google have started rolling out a new feature that lets you block sites from the search results.

At present, I’ve not see this on any UK version of Google but it should start to appear in the near future.

Where’s the Down Side

On the face of it this is a nice idea and what I’m about to suggest is purely speculative.  You can now block sites from your search results but I’d like to know what Google are going to do with this data. How will it start changing the results in general? They are, after all, going to able to take advantage of the “Wisdom of Crowds”.

Obviously from a Malware perspective it would be nice to gain a useful insight into the anatomy of a site and how it develops when tragedies like the Japanese earthquake are exploited. Google clearly have the ability to react to such activities but it takes time to obtain a reasonable amount of useful data to analyse. Real people can begin to weed out these various nasty sites instantly and it could help push them further down the page ranking.

But this is where it could get murky. How long before someone creates a bot network to start blocking other sites? Could this sway the statistics affecting innocent sites?

Who knows?