Two years ago Google introduced a blocked sites feature; allowing users to block undesired sites while using Google’s search engine.
In December 2012, the feature mysteriously stopped working. On Sunday, Google posted a message that the blocked sites feature had been discontinued.
When it first became available, Google stated, “We’re adding this feature because we believe giving you control over the results you find will provide an even more personalized and enjoyable experience on Google.”
That statement sounds reasonable enough. It’s logical, a natural progression in our ability to tailor the Internet to our interest and needs. Right? It seems Google has changed their collective minds, and doesn’t believe in investing in your sense of comfort and control. Shouldn’t the ability to block sites be a technological standard? Or is it just a glossy feature to add onto your browser? Maybe there’s more to the story.
It seems Google hasn’t exactly discontinued the service. Rather, they have turned it into a Chrome extension. The Personal Block List is the same service, but conveniently only available for Chrome users. Perhaps this was a simple business plan – taking away the convenience of control on other browsers is a move to bring more users to Chrome. But Google isn’t exactly promoting the service on the frontlines, either. Google might have pulled the plug on a wider audience because the ability to block ad-heavy domains cuts into their revenue.
There’s more: Google recently reported they will also be discontinuing Google Reader, and unsuccessfully attempted to impose its will over Adblock Plus, a direct competitor.
Or maybe searchers were simply not really using it? Google won’t say. But it begs many questions: Shouldn’t we be able to control our experiences, or more importantly, our students, employees, or children’s experiences on the Internet? Why should we pour our personal efforts into new Google’s new ideas under the fear that our investment will be yanked right from our laptops, tablets, and smartphones? What is up over at Google? Are they going to great lengths to keep Internet users firmly under their thumb? If you’ve got an idea, let the Dallas SEO Dogs know.