Explained: Google Search’s new personal info removal tool and what it means for users
Google has started rolling out a new privacy-oriented tool that will help users to remove their personal information from the Search results. The tech giant announced the “Results about you” safety tool at the I/O 2022 event in May. This new tool streamlines the process of deleting users’ personal information like — contact numbers and other personally identifiable information (PII) from the Google Search results. This new tool is available only for Android users for now and has reportedly started appearing for some users in Europe and the US. The company is planning a wider roll-out of this feature for all users in the upcoming days.
How does it work
Android users will soon be able to see a new option called “Results about you” in the Google Search menu that opens by tapping the profile avatar in the top right corner. On selecting this new option, users will be redirected to a page that explains how they can request Google to remove Search results that include their — phone number, home address, email ID or any other PII.
Google will also allow users to request personal data removal from the Search results. While browsing the web, if users find PII in any Search result, they will be allowed to request removal by clicking the new “Remove result” option from the “About this result” panel, which is available in the three-dot overflow menu that appears in the top-right corner of every result.
Currently, users have to go to a Google Support page to request the removal of any personally identifiable information (PII). On this page, users have to fill out a form where they can mention the URL that they want to be removed from Google’s Search results.
What happens after users make a result removal request
Users can also monitor the status of their result removal requests. A new page with an “All requests” feed with filters like “In progress” and “Approved” will also be available to them. This page will even allow users to make a new request after going through a step that requires users to answer: “Why would you like to remove this result?”. Google will also provide some general reasons that users can select from to answer this question.
In its blog post, Google has also explained that when the company receives removal requests, it evaluates all content on the web page to make sure that it is not limiting the availability of other information that is widely useful, like in the case of news articles.
Moreover, the company has also mentioned that removing contact information from Google Search doesn’t remove it from the internet. If users have to remove their information completely from the web, they have to contact the hosting site directly.