Back in September, Google launched a way to remove search results showing personal contact info—details like your home address, phone number, and email address. You could make the requestfrom any method of accessing Google search, then monitor the status of your request(s) from its new Results About You tool. But you still had to stay on top of search results about you. Now the company has rolled out some updates to the tool to alleviate some of that work (and stress)—as well as introducing a further way to protect your privacy online.
Promised to arrive in “the coming days,” the Results About You’s new dashboard will both show you existing search results containing your contact info and also automatically alert you if those personal details again pop up later on. You’ll still need to manually submit removal requests, however. And as noted by Bleeping Computer, the company will still screen requests to make sure it doesn’t take down results tied to information that is “broadly useful,” like in news articles.
You can access the Results About You tool in the Google app by clicking on your Google account photo and choosing “Results about you.” Alternatively, you can visit goo.gle/resultsaboutyou. This update will only be available in English and within the U.S. to start, but other languages and locations are “soon” to follow.
Non-consensual explicit imagery is also becoming easier to remove from search. Google says it’s streamlined the process for making such requests, though as part of the announcement, VP of Trust Danielle Romain stressed that the policy still does not extend to commercialized images. (Though presumably, the redistribution of such material would fall under copyright protection if you created the content.)
Google also will begin handling explicit images in a different manner—by default, these images will be blurred if they come up in search results. The company says this change, which will launch in August, is to help protect families from “accidentally encountering” adult or graphic violent images while searching online. Parental controls can now be directly found by typing in a search like “google parental controls” or “google family link” into the search box, too.
As before, removing search results linking to explicit material—or your personal contact info—doesn’t actually take it off the web. Removal of the search info does limit how easily it’s found, however.
Alaina Yee is PCWorld’s resident bargain hunter—when she’s not covering PC building, computer components, mini-PCs, and more, she’s scouring for the best tech deals. Previously her work has appeared in PC Gamer, IGN, Maximum PC, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can find her on Twitter at @morphingball.