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Chrome extension: Users can clean their search results, alert Google to possible spammers

If you've been finding more spam in your Google search results that you care for, there's now an extension for the Chrome browser that not only allows users to block sites from their personalized results but also helps Google identify some of the worst offenders of search engine manipulation.It's part of Google's ongoing battle with content farms, sites with shallow or low-quality content that have a main purpose of generating web traffic sent in via Google results.
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Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive on

If you've been finding more spam in your Google search results that you care for, there's now an extension for the Chrome browser that not only allows users to block sites from their personalized results but also helps Google identify some of the worst offenders of search engine manipulation.

It's part of Google's ongoing battle with content farms, sites with shallow or low-quality content that have a main purpose of generating web traffic sent in via Google results. For some time, Google has been trying to stay a step ahead of sites that they say degrade the search results by trying to cheat their way into a higher ranking on the results pages. In a blog post today, the company said the extension could help with that effort.

Manipulating search results may not necessarily illegal but it's definitely frowned upon - and could incur the wrath of Google.

The launch of the extension comes days after the New York Times exposed what appeared to be a large-scale attempt by retailer JC Penney to manipulate results for searches of common items carried in its stores, such as area rugs, luggage and bedding. While JC Penney denies being part of an effort to flood the Web with links to its site on pages content farm-like pages, the company did tell the NYT that it has fired its search engine consulting firm.

In the meantime, Google has pushed JC Penney back down in the search results for many of those queries, a move that some might call an adjustment of the results and other might view more as punishment against JC Penney for trying to manipulate Google.

While the benefits of the extension initially might only extend to the users of it, Google says that it will also send warning flags to Google engineers, giving them another set of eyeballs to monitor the one billion queries that Google processes daily.

The Chrome extension, called Personal Blocklist, is available for download now.

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