Google now lets you remove your personal info from search results in the US

Aug 4, 2023, 3:51 PM UTC
4 mins read
Google now lets you remove your personal info from search results in the US
(Image credit: Google)

Google yesterday introduced a new privacy feature that streamlines the process of managing personal information online. By sending out notifications whenever a user’s contact information, such as address, phone number, or email, appears on the web, the tech giant empowers users to review and request the removal of their sensitive data from Google Search. This highly anticipated update builds on the results about you” dashboard, initially launched in September of the previous year, which allowed users to discover their information on Google without manually searching for it. With the latest enhancement, users can now instantly review matches on websites and efficiently initiate removal requests, marking a significant improvement over the previous cumbersome process.

The new feature, accessible through both mobile and web platforms, transforms the way users interact with their personal data. Instead of laboriously conducting searches for private information themselves, users can rely on the dashboard to automatically display websites containing matching data. Once the data is found, a simple review of each webpage enables users to promptly request its removal. This enhancement not only expedites the process for individuals seeking to safeguard their privacy but also ensures a seamless experience that requires minimal effort.

Google’s commitment to privacy is further reinforced by the option to enable push notifications. By doing so, users receive real-time alerts whenever new results containing their personal information surface on the internet. This proactive approach empowers users to stay vigilant against potential privacy breaches, allowing them to act swiftly and take the necessary steps to protect their data. The feature is an extension of Google’s ongoing efforts to prioritize user security, demonstrating the company’s dedication to safeguarding user interests.

To provide a comprehensive overview of their privacy management efforts, Google has included a central hub where users can monitor the progress of their requests. The hub categorizes requests into various stages, including in-progress, approved, denied, and undone, offering transparency and accountability. This streamlined system enhances user confidence in the process, reassuring them that their concerns are being promptly addressed and giving them a clear view of the actions taken on their behalf.

It is crucial to acknowledge that while Google’s new feature facilitates the removal of personal information from its search results, it does not guarantee complete erasure from the web. While the information will be removed from Google Search, it may still remain accessible on the website where it was originally posted. Users must remain vigilant about their online presence, staying informed and proactively addressing any data concerns.

Google has outlined some limitations concerning the types of search results it can and cannot remove. Notably, results originating from governmental or educational institutions fall outside the scope of the removal process. While these limitations may restrict the full extent of data control, they also align with principles of freedom of information and transparency.

The updated privacy feature proves especially valuable for individuals who have been victimized by doxxing – the malicious act of publicly exposing private information online. For doxxing victims, expediting the removal of personal data from Google Search can help mitigate potential harm and safeguard their privacy. This feature empowers users to regain control over their digital footprints, providing a powerful tool to combat online harassment and privacy violations.

As of now, the new privacy feature is being gradually rolled out in the United States in English. However, Google is committed to making this feature available in other countries and languages in the near future. The global expansion of this service will amplify its impact, benefiting users worldwide and further cementing Google’s dedication to privacy protection on a global scale.

Related / Apple wants to protect user data with new App Store API rules, cracking down on invasive fingerprinting practices

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x