Google is finally making it easier for you to make sure your personal information doesn’t show up in online search results – and all it took was hundreds of thousands of requests over nearly a decade.
The Alphabet-owned internet search giant recently rolled out new policies and tools that allow users to quickly and easily request the removal of personal data – like your phone number, email address, or even a physical address – from search results.
Previously, users had to show evidence of potential harm, such as doxxing or identity theft, to get Google to remove their personal information from search results, the company noted in an April blog post.
Now, you get your information removed from those results for any reason – and with just the click of a button.
“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,” Danielle Romain, Google’s vice president of trust, wrote in a separate blog post on Wednesday.
Crucially, not every request is guaranteed approval: The company may not remove your personal data from its search results if the information is newsworthy – for instance, if it appears in a relevant news article – or if it’s included on a government website or another official source, according to Google.
Currently, anyone can fill out an online form to submit a removal request. On Wednesday, the company announced a new upcoming tool, where users who find their personal information in search results will be able to request the removal of that data with just a few clicks. The company said the tool will be available “in the coming months.”