One request we sometimes hear is for the ability to modify Google results, especially to block unwanted sites. A few eagle-eyed people may have noticed a user-interface experiment on Google that adds the ability to remove results. Here’s what you’d see. Imagine that you did the search [lynx paw clipart], and you notice one particular result that looks spammy:
You check the cached page, and you notice that if you turn off Cascading Style Sheets, there’s a bunch of spammy text:
At that point, your options would normally be to 1) ignore that result, or 2) report the url to Google via our spam report form.
But if you’re in this experiment, you’ll have newfound powers. Click the “Remove result” link and with one click you can drop that url from your search results. It looks like this:
By default, it will only block that url for that particular search. If you’re really annoyed, you can click “More options” and you’ll get two more choices: block this url from all future searches and (my personal favorite) the ability to block the entire host from all future searches. Here’s what it looks like:
Before I tackle some questions, I want to send mad props to the people who worked on this in our New York office. This is one of my favorite UI experiments; it’s neat to give users the ability to modify some parts of Google, and I especially like the Ajax-y aspects of it. Okay, let me try to anticipate some questions.
Q: Why don’t I see “Remove result”? I want it! I want it baaad!
A: Dude, did you not read the last paragraph? It’s an experiment; if we showed it to everyone, it would be a beta. 😉 Oh, alright. Here’s a tip. Go sign up for My Search History/Personalized Search. You don’t have to store your searches, but you will need a Google Account.
Q: How exactly do I try this out?
A: If you have an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org, you should be able to go to http://www.google.com/psearch and sign in with “email@example.com” and your password–make sure to click “Remember me on this computer.” If you don’t have a Gmail account, you can create a Google Account at https://www.google.com/accounts/ . Once you are logged into your Google Account, click on “Personalized Search” on the left-hand side:
Once you are in Personalized Search, you should see the Remove Result link any time that you’re signed in.
Q: Are you going to use this data to improve general search?
A: It’s too early to say. It’s still an experiment that may not even launch; it depends on how people like it. The form or format could also change as well.
Again, thanks to the people who worked on this. I’ll be curious to see whether people enjoy it.