Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Review of Search Engine Blacklist for Chrome - highly recommended

I was getting really tired of useless quasi-spam in Google search results. It was seriously impacting my productivity (and morale). The tenth time that the same junk domain fools you into selling your eyeballs to it, you really wish that it would die in a registrar fire.

While you can solve the problem manually (by excluding sites with "" in your search), this doesn't scale. Also, there are only so many characters that you can have in a search string. I often need that additional real estate, so I needed another option.

A recent Lifehacker thread hailed a new solution to this problem: the Search Engine Blacklist extension for Chrome.

I tried it out yesterday, and it's already making my life better.

Search Engine Blacklist puts a new little "X" icon next to each Google search result. If you click on it, it asks you if you want to add the domain (and lets you edit it prior to initial save). Note that it just hides them, so if 7 out of 10 results are bogus, you'll only see 3 on the first page of search results.

I did a little research, looking for sites that duplicate content from Stack Overflow without adding any value. Here is my suggested starting list (sites that just index search terms, copy other sites without adding value, or provide search results to search engines but charge you to see them):, 2011-01-12*

You can add these manually by going to the extension's Options page.

The developer, Jason Chen, is very actively developing, and is taking suggestions for features. Note that the description blurb on the extension's main page notes which Uservoice suggestions are already in development or completed, so spend your votes wisely. The feature that I'm most interested in: a centralized blacklist, similar to those kept by Adblock Plus and kin.

Not using Chrome? Firefox folks can try Optimize Google. I haven't looked at it yet, but this Hacker News thread (filled with people also ranting about this problem, and speculating why Google isn't doing anything about it themselves) says that it does the job, too.

In the screenshot above, you can see that the first hit in my search for "Experts Exchange" is its Wikipedia article.

Much better!

Update: I totally forgot another major offender: Big Resource.

* I may be occasionally be adding to the list above (until shared lists are added as a feature). I'll note them as adds by appending a date.
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