In a recent blog post, Google has unveiled new updates to its privacy tools, making it easier for users to control the information that appears in their search results. The search giant has introduced additional features to the “results about you” tool, which allows users to remove search results containing personal information such as phone numbers, home addresses, or email addresses, thereby adding an extra layer of online privacy protection.
Results About You Tool: A Closer Look
The “results about you” tool, initially launched last year, has now been upgraded with a user-friendly dashboard that promptly alerts individuals whenever search results containing their personal information are detected. With just a few taps, users can swiftly request Google to remove these results, thereby safeguarding their privacy effectively.
This update is reminiscent of a feature introduced by Google One earlier in the year. The feature involved scanning the broader web to identify instances where user information might have been compromised in data breaches. On the other hand, the “results about you” tool takes a proactive approach by searching for and eliminating personal information from search results, providing an added layer of privacy protection.
To access the tool, users can tap their profile photo within the Google app and select “results about you.” Alternatively, Google has also created a dedicated webpage for this purpose. As of now, the tool is available in English for users in the United States, but Google has plans to expand its availability to other languages and regions in the near future.
In another important update, Google has revised its policy on removing explicit photos of individuals from search results. While it has long offered the option to remove non-consensual explicit images, the policy has been extended to encompass consensual imagery as well. For instance, if someone has previously uploaded explicit content of themselves to a website but subsequently decided to delete it, they can now request Google to remove it from search results if it has been reuploaded elsewhere without their consent. Notably, this policy does not apply to content that is still being sold or monetized.
It’s important to understand that removing explicit content from Google Search does not erase it entirely from the web. However, the removal process can make it significantly more challenging for people to stumble upon such content. For detailed instructions on how to use this feature, users can search for “request removals” in the Google help center.
Updates to SafeSearch and Parental Controls
Google is rolling out updates to its parental controls and SafeSearch feature. From this month onward, explicit imagery, such as adult or graphic violent content, will be automatically blurred in search results, following an earlier announcement. Users can disable SafeSearch blurring in their settings, unless it has been locked by a school network admin or guardian on their account.
Lastly, Google is enhancing access to parental controls from the Search interface. By typing queries like “Google parental controls” or “Google family link,” users will see an information box explaining how to adjust their account settings or their child’s account settings more conveniently.
With these recent updates, Google is striving to empower users with greater control over their personal information and content visibility while reinforcing its commitment to online privacy and safety.