Aimed at stripping search results of pages from low-quality sites, a new Google Chrome extension allows users to block specified websites from appearing in search results. The names of these sites are then sent to Google, which will study the collected results and use them to determine future page ranking systems. 

Google principal engineer Matt Cutts wrote in a post on the Google blog that the company hopes the extension will improve the quality of search results.

Google has been the target of varied criticism in recent months, much of which centered around the effect that content farms were having on the company's search results. 

The Chrome extension is the latest in a string of attempts to tackle the increasing concern over webspam, which Cutts defines as junk you see in search results when websites try to cheat their way into higher positions in search results or otherwise violate search engine quality guidelines. 

Recently, however, the company's focus has shifted to so-called content farms, which are are marked by the frivolous or nonexistent nature of their content. In its approach to these sites, Google hopes that better results can be gained by working with users. 

Google's effort comes shortly after two major web sites accused of being content farms have moved to raise a lot of money. In January Demand Media filed an initial public offering valued at $174 million. The Huffington Post, was bought by AOL last week for $315 million. 

More recently, a New York Times story revealed the extent to which department store J.C. Penny went to get its pages onto the top of Google's search results. 

To contact the reporter responsible for this story call (646) 461 7294 or email r.bilton@ibtimes.com.