Last week, I told you that Google had turned on a feature that lets you exclude web sites with spammy content from your future searches.
Well, the “exclude what you hate” feature is live. I noticed it yesterday for the first time and poked around a bit:
The way Google Custom Search (that’s not its official name, by the way; there’s a Google product CALLED “Google Custom Search) works makes sense, I suppose. If you read something that makes you want to exclude the website where you saw it from future searches, then by clicking “Back” in your browser and re-displaying the search results that sent you to that page you get a slightly modified version of those search results. The item you clicked previously will include a link reading “exclude results from this site from future searches“. Click it, and that site is banished.
Makes sense. Maybe.
The good news is that the ban is permanent. I call this good news because it beats the alternative, which would be that when you cleared your browser cache or erased your cookies the banned web site would reappear. It does however, raise the question of “what if you change your mind?”.
The bad news is that you need to be logged into Google to use the feature. Google Custom Search isn’t computer-based, it’s YOU based. And maybe the bad news isn’t so bad; the ban follows you from computer to computer so if you log into your Google account on a second computer, or from a SmartPhone, your search results preferences are already in place.
But it means that you’ve lost your right to privacy about what you’re excluding. Google and anyone who sees their data knows what you don’t like. It also means you can’t use the Google Custom Search without having and turning on a Google account.
OK, come to think of it, this isn’t bad news at all, it’s all good—as long as you trust Google.
Then again, you never really had a choice on that front, did you?