Google has introduced an opt-out tool for some of its vertical search services such as Google+ Local and Google Shopping.
In an announcement on the Google Webmaster Central Blog, the search engine revealed that users would now be able to remove their content from five veritcal search services; Google+ Local, Google Shopping, Google Flights, Google Hotels and Google Advisor. Opting-out of these services will not prevent your content from appearing in Google's web search results.
The move comes as a result of an settlement Google reached with the US Federal Trade Commission earlier this year, after competitors complained about Google's "all or nothing" approach to search listings, which amounted to anti-trust charges being brought against them.
The FTC agreement states: "Google will give websites the ability to 'opt out' of display on Google vertical properties. Under the same commitment, Google also has promised to provide all websites the option to keep their content out of Google's vertical search offerings, while still having them appear in Google's general, or 'organic' web search results."
Webmasters will be able to remove their content from the various Google vertical service by choosing the option through their Webmaster Tools interface. Google will remove the content from these search listings within 30 days.
In the Google blog post, Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts said: "Webmasters have several ways to keep their sites' content out of Google's search results. Today, as promised, we're providing a way for websites to opt out of having their content that Google has crawled appear on Google Shopping, Advisor, Flights, Hotels, and Google+ Local search."
However, there is currently no way to opt-out of individual search listings; if you want to opt-out of one search listing, you have to opt-out of all five. This may prove to be a sticking point with certain users.
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