Google is taking steps to protect our safety online by adding new policies and tools that will allow anyone to have their personal data taken down.
Under the new policy, you can request to have personal information like your phone number, email address or physical address removed from a site at the click of a button.
Currently, you can only have information removed if you’re the victim of doxxing — when your private details are shared online with malicious intent, like harassment or reporting a non-existent crime taking place at your address to cause a police raid — or if sensitive information like your bank details are shared online.
Soon, though, you’ll be able to remove your information for any reason.
“For many people, a key element of feeling safer and more private online is having greater control over where their sensitive, personally-identifiable information can be found,” wrote Danielle Romain, Google’s vice president of trust.
How to Remove Your Personal Information From Google
The new tool will work in Google Search results. When you come across a result where your personal details appear, you can request their removal with a few clicks. Google hasn’t revealed exactly how this process will work yet, but you can see it in action here:
Soon, a new tool will let you more easily request the removal of Google Search results containing your contact details — such as your home address, phone number and email address. This feature will be available in the Google app and on individual Google Search results. #GoogleIO pic.twitter.com/aoMyLmVdpo
— Google (@Google) May 11, 2022
Crucially, this won’t remove the information from the web entirely. You’ll simply be removing your details from Google Search results; Google can’t demand a website takes down your personal details and stresses that the only way to do that remains contacting the hosting site directly “if you’re comfortable doing so.”
There are also some circumstances where your request will be denied. If the information appears in a relevant news article or on a government website, Google will deem it important to leave so “that we’re not limiting the availability of other information that is broadly useful.”
The new safety features are being rolled out “in the coming months in the Google App.” If you need to have personal information removed before then, you can submit a request here.