While it can be too easy to just search on Google for someone’s profile, that also means it’s that easy to find information on you. If you’ve always wanted to remove your personal information from Google Search, now you’ll be able to make an official request.
Remove Personal Information from Google Search
I’ll admit that if I need someone’s address for some reason, Google Search is my first option: it’s just easier than messaging and asking for it. But I won’t always have the Google Search option to find someone’s personal information – and neither will you. Google will now offer everyone the option to have their personal information removed from Search.
It’s not a completely new concept. Google already allows you to have more troubling data removed, like banking information or an account number that could cause you harm if someone stumbled across it.
As Google said in its announcement, “The Internet is always evolving – with information popping up in unexpected places and being used in new ways – so our policies and protections need to evolve too.”
In what Google is referring to as a “new policy expansion,” when you find identifying personal information in Search, such as your phone number, email, or snail mail address, you can request to have it removed. Information that could be used in identity theft, such as login credentials, can also be removed.
This new option came about because people requested it. Plus, Google says it recognizes that “the availability of personal contact information online can be jarring – and that it can be used in harmful ways.” But Google’s motivations are well-known, so perhaps it knew it would benefit in some way from this new option.
Not So Fast
But before you start lining up your request to have Google remove your personal information from the Search results, know that they don’t have to honor your request.
Google said, “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.”
The Alphabet company also noted in its blog post that users should remember that just because it removes it from the Internet, this information is still available on the website where Google initially crawled it. Now that you know it exists, though, you can ask the site where it was initially posted to remove it.
Because Google is always “looking for new ways to ensure our policies and built-in safeguards,” it’s also providing another new option: images of people under the age of 18 can be removed from Search results as well.
These new policies prevent hackers and other bad actors from malicious activity, such as identity theft or on-site stalking. Also know that if a website removes its information about you, it will eventually be removed from Google Search results as well.
Google explained, “Maximizing access to information while empowering people to be in control of their sensitive personally identifiable information is a critical balance to strike. We believe these updates are an important step to deliver on that goal and give people the tools they need to protect their safety and privacy online.”
Of interest, it used to be easier to find information about me because of my Internet writing career. However, I’m not the only writer with the name “Laura Tucker,” and now that there’s a South Park character with the same name, it took me quite a while to find something that was connected to me.
Read on to learn how you can also quickly delete your last 15 minutes of search history in Google.
Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox