Google has launched a new tool that will allow users to remove their phone number, email address, home address and other personal information from its search engine.
NPR reports that Google now offers a tool that will allow users to remove their phone number, email or mailing address and other personal information from its search engine. Michelle Chang, Google’s global policy manager for search, said in a recent announcement of the change, “The availability of personal contact information online can be shocking.” She added that the data could lead to “unwanted direct contact or even physical harm”.
Previously, Google only offered to delete personal and financial information when there was a legitimate threat, but Google now allows anyone to delete their personal information. Chang noted that people should always be wary of the personal information they post online, saying, “It’s important to remember that removing content from Google search won’t remove it from the internet, so you can contact the hosting site directly. , if you are comfortable doing so.
Google can always deny a user’s removal request if it deems the information to be “substantially useful” or part of the public record, such as newsworthy information or posted on government sites.
Requesting deletion of your information is surprisingly easy, just follow this link and click on the button that says “Initiate deletion request”. Google explains what happens after you submit a request, writing:
- You receive an automated confirmation email. This confirms that we have received the request.
- We are reviewing your request. Each application is evaluated based on factors including the above requirements.
- We collect more information, if necessary. In some cases, we may ask you for more information. If the request does not contain enough information for us to assess, such as missing URLs, we will share specific instructions and ask you to resubmit the request.
- You receive a notification of any action taken.
- If the submitted URLs are found to fall within the scope of our policy, either the URLs will be removed for all queries or the URLs will only be removed from search results where the query includes the complainant’s name or other identifiers provided, such as pseudonyms.
- If the request does not meet the deletion requirements, we will also include a brief explanation. If your application is denied and you later have additional documents to support your case, you can resubmit your application.
Learn more about NPR here.