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Google grants webmasters the power of China

Deindexing for the masses

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Google will let webmasters remove sites it has indexed from search results more easily by using a long-demanded new tool.

It's already very easy to avoid being indexed in the first place by Google, by editing the standard robots.txt file or by using meta tagging, but until now it was tricky for Joe Webmaster to have a listing pulled once it had entered the Google database.

The deindexing move follows Google's defeat in court by Belgian newspaper owners, who were unhappy about it selling ads based on indexing their content. Google fought the case to the bitter end, and still plans to appeal.

A new form submission system, announced on Tuesday, makes it simpler for webmasters to contact the Googleplex to request deindexing of single pages, directories, whole sites, and cached content. Legally concerned webmasters will be able to alert Google if any of their smut turns up with SafeSearch enabled.

Google says its new removal request service also makes it easier to ask it to remove websites you don't own, but adds in that case, "we generally can't remove results from our index unless the webmaster has blocked or modified the content or removed the page"...unless you're the Chinese Government. Google.cn routinely deindexes websites for being critical of the regime in Beijing, and has been condemned by Amnesty International for doing so.

Full instructions here at the official Google webmasters' blog. ®

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