Google Is Making It Easier to Remove Personal Info from Search Results

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Google is making it easier to remove personal info from search results

Google, by far the most widely used search engine in the world, is currently expanding the list of private information that can be requested to be deleted from search results, including phone numbers and addresses.

Users have long had the option to mark private information, such as government identification numbers, bank account numbers, and credit card numbers, that could be exploited for fraud or theft and appears in Google search results.

In doxing situations, where someone’s contact information is posted online with malice in mind, requests may also be made. Candidates for this were required to demonstrate that their contact information had been made available to the public and that there was also a danger present.

However, the removal request service has now been made available for all personal contact information, including login information and addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.

However, contact information that is regarded to be of public interest will still be displayed on search results, such as a politician’s or organization’s office phone number.

Google’s privacy practices have changed as a result of the relocation, and the company wants to give users more choice over how sensitive or personally identifying information can be located.

According to research, there is more personally identifiable information that people deem sensitive, said Michelle Chang, global policy director for Google Search, in an exclusive interview with Reuters. They are becoming less inclined to put up with this online garbage.

In recent years, Google has received tens of thousands of removal requests each year, only around 13 percent of which, according to Chang, were approved. But she anticipates that the most recent policy expansion will increase the approval rate.

However, Google may have left some information available through other search engines.

Google has increasingly increased the focus on its privacy protections. It made a series of significant changes to make Search, YouTube, and other apps safer for children last year, including the removal of photographs of minors from search results upon request.

Google also introduced a new data safety section earlier this week for all apps on its Play store, requiring developers to provide specific information about how user data would be used when an app is downloaded.

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What information can you delete from Google?

Google amended its policy in April to include contact information and information that could put users at risk for identity theft.

Users have previously been able to remove personally identifiable information that could result in problems like doxxing or financial fraud. The information that shows in Search must fall into one of the following categories in order for Google to behave in accordance with the new regulations:

  • Contact Details
  • IDs that are issued by the government, such as the U.S. Social Security Number
  • digits for a bank account or credit card
  • Photographs of a handwritten signature or of an ID
  • personal medical information
  • private login information.

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How to request removal from Google

Before the tool is released, you can request the removal of this type of data by going to Google’s search results removal form and choosing the option “Remove information you see in Google Search” under the “What do you wish to do?” tab.

Then click “In Google’s search results and on a website” next to the data you wish to delete, and click “No, I prefer not to” next to the “Have you contacted the site’s website owner” question.

The form will then guide you through entering the data Google requires to assess if the reported results are covered by its policies for removal. It requests both the URL of the Google search that produced the websites showing your personal data as well as the URL of the websites themselves.

Additionally, including screenshots is advised. As a result, certain websites might no longer appear in all Google searches, just those featuring your name, neither, or, if your request is turned down, both.

Google does not have the authority to remove the website where the information actually resides, as stated on its removal request support page.

Any content Google removes from its results may still be available online since Google Search displays information gathered from websites all over the internet. This indicates that the content may still be accessible through other search engines, social media, the page hosting it, or other means, according to the page.

In that instance, Google advises getting in touch with the offending website and asking it to take down the harmful content.

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