Google is making it easier to remove personal data from Search (Image: GOOGLE • GETTY)
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If you’re worried about the world knowing too much about your personal life then there’s good news. Google has just announced that it’s making it much easier to delete personal information from its Search results with people able to ask the US technology giant to hide phone numbers and home addresses. Those with an email account – such as Gmail – can also ask for the account name to be erased from view making it much harder for strangers to track it down.
Requesting data to be removed from Google’s platform isn’t actually anything new with the general public long having been able to get data such as bank account details and credit card numbers taken down if they appear via Search.
However, this is the first time that the Mountain View company has made it simple to discard other personal data.
“Under this new policy expansion, people can now request removals of additional types of information when they find it in Search results, including personal contact information like a phone number, email address, or physical address,” Google explained in a blog post.
“The policy also allows for the removal of additional information that may pose a risk for identity theft, such as confidential log-in credentials, when it appears in Search results.”
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Google says it’s making the changes after feedback from users. There are clearly occasions where people don’t want their address and phone number splashed across the web and that’s now easily fixed by heading to the firm’s dedicated webpage and filling in a “Removal Request” form.
Although this is great news for search results, Google does make it clear that this update won’t remove personal data from the actual internet itself as that’s something out of the firm’s control.
“It’s important to remember that removing content from Google Search won’t remove it from the internet, which is why you may wish to contact the hosting site directly, if you’re comfortable doing so,” Google explained.
If you search the web and find your number or home address on the web, you’ll find more details on how to get things removed here.
Once a request is made, Google will then evaluate whether it should be taken down. Explaining more the firm said: “When we receive removal requests, 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.”