Google’s new settings remove private info from search results. Here’s how

Google's new settings remove private info from search results. Here's how

Google Introduces New Privacy Tools and Features to Safeguard Your Personal Information

Have you ever stumbled upon private or confidential information about yourself in a public search result? Not only can this be embarrassing, but it also poses a threat to your identity and personal security. Recognizing the importance of privacy, Google is now making it easier than ever to find and remove personal details that appear in search results.

The Results About You Dashboard

Google’s latest privacy update includes a dashboard for an existing feature called Results About You. Initially introduced in 2022, this feature allows users to track any personal details that surface in a search result, enabling them to request Google to remove them. With the recent update, the Results About You dashboard not only helps you discover those details but also allows you to request their removal directly through the same tool. Furthermore, the feature sends alerts if any new personal information starts appearing in public search results.

To access the dashboard, you can visit the Results About You site on the web or open the Google mobile app, tap on your account photo, and select Results About You. From there, run a Google search for your name, potentially including your city and state to narrow down the results.

If the search reveals sensitive information like your email address, phone number, or home address, you can ask Google to remove it. Simply click or tap the three-dot icon next to the result and select “Remove result.” Then, specify the reason for removal and follow the subsequent steps to submit the request to Google. Afterward, Google will review your request, which may take a few days, to ensure it meets the policy requirements for removal. Upon approval, the specific result you cited will be removed. You can monitor the progress of your requests on the dashboard, which displays all requests, including those in progress, approved, denied, and undone.

It’s essential to bear in mind that while items may be removed from Google search, the content itself is not deleted. Individuals can still access it by visiting the source website directly or by using a different search engine.

Removal of Non-Consensual Explicit Images

Google has long allowed users to request the removal of non-consensual, explicit images that appear of or about them in public search results. For instance, this may include situations where explicit content was created, uploaded, and subsequently deleted, revenge porn incidents where intimate photos are posted without consent, or the presence of fake pornography portraying individuals in compromising situations. Users can now ask Google to remove such images from its search results, preventing them from being published without their approval.

To initiate the removal process, visit the related Help Center page, and select “Start removal request.” Indicate the reason for your request and provide your contact details, the URL of the offending website, and screenshots of the images. Once you have submitted your request, Google will review it accordingly.

Google also offers assistance through another Help Center page, where users can request the removal of personal information like ID numbers and private documents, explicit or nude content, exploitative content, legally questionable content, and inappropriate images of individuals under the age of 18.

Blur for Explicit Images

As part of the latest update, Google has introduced a feature aimed at obscuring adult or violent images that may appear in search results. By default, the SafeSearch option will now blur explicit images, ensuring they are not automatically or unintentionally viewed by children or other family members. While the blur setting is enabled by default, users have the option to disable it if desired.

With these new privacy tools and features, Google is taking steps to empower users to better protect their personal information and maintain their privacy online. By providing easy-to-use dashboards, removal processes, and blurring options, Google is actively addressing the potential risks associated with private information becoming public knowledge. Remember, while these tools can remove information from Google search results, it’s crucial to be mindful of content that may still be accessible through other channels, such as direct website access.