Google is making it easier for users to remove personal contact information and personal, non-consensual explicit imagery from Google search results.
“Of course, removing content from Google Search does not remove it from the web or other search engines, but we hope these changes give you more control over private information appearing in Google Search,” noted Danielle Romain, VP of Trust at Google.
Easily remove personal information from Google Search
The feature that allows users to request removal of personal contact information (phone number, home address or email) has been available for almost a year, but it has now been updated.
Available from the Google app or Search, the tool will be able to alert the users when their personal information appears in Google Search, so they can promptly request its removal.
“In the coming days, we’ll be rolling out a new dashboard that will let you know if web results with your contact information are showing up on Search. Then, you can quickly request the removal of those results from Google — right in the tool. We’ll also notify you when new results from the web containing your contact info pop up in Search, to give you added peace of mind,” Romain shared.
“When we receive removal requests, we will evaluate all content on the web page to ensure that we’re not limiting the availability of other information that is broadly useful, for instance in news articles. We’ll also evaluate if the content appears as part of the public record on the sites of government or official sources. In such cases, we won’t make removals.”
To access this feature in the Google app, users will have to click on their Google account photo, select “Results about you” (or visit goo.gle/resultsaboutyou). The tool is currently available only in the US and only in English, but the company is planning to expand support for additional languages and extend its availability to other locations.
Removing explicit imagery from Google search results
Users will also have the option to request the removal of personal, explicit images they don’t want Google Search to show.
“If you created and uploaded explicit content to a website, then deleted it, you can request its removal from Search if it’s being published elsewhere without approval,” Romain explained. “This policy doesn’t apply to content you are currently commercializing.”