New Google features help you control your online information

These features won’t erase your online footprint completely, but Google hopes that they will give you more control over your private information on Search.
Rizwan Choudhury
A magnifying glass on the Google homepage.
A magnifying glass on the Google homepage.

Credits: zmeel/iStock 

Google is now making it easier to control what information about you appears in search results. In one of its recent blog posts, the search giant has announced how it has updated a tool that lets you remove results that contain your phone number, home address, or email address, adding an extra layer to your online privacy.

Results about you

The tool, “results about you”, was launched last year. It allows you to request that Google take down any results revealing your personal information. Now, Google has added a new dashboard that will alert you when such results appear in Search. You can quickly ask Google to remove them with a few taps.

The update is similar to a feature that Google One introduced earlier this year. It can scan the wider web for your information and notify you if it has been compromised in a data breach. The “results about you” tool works proactively to find and remove your personal info from Search, which can help you protect your privacy.

To access the tool, you can do it from the Google app by tapping your profile photo and selecting “results about you”. You can also visit a dedicated webpage that Google has created for this purpose. The tool is currently available in the US in English, but Google plans to expand it to other languages and regions soon.

Policy on personal explicit images

Google is also updating its policy on removing explicit photos of you from search results. The internet giant has been offering the option to request the removal of non-consensual explicit images for a long time. Now, it is extending that option to include consensual imagery as well.

For example, if you have uploaded explicit content of yourself to a website but later decided to delete it. In that case, you can now ask Google to remove it from search results if it has been reposted elsewhere without your permission. The policy does not apply to content you are still selling or monetizing.

Removing explicit content from Google Search does not mean it will disappear entirely from the web, but it may make it harder for people to find it. You can search for “request removals” in the Google help center to learn how to use this feature.

New Google features help you control your online information
Google SafeSearch blurring settings.

Updates to SafeSearch

In addition, Google is rolling out some parental controls and SafeSearch updates. Starting this month, Google will blur explicit imagery (such as adult or graphic violent content) in search results by default, as it announced earlier this year. You can turn off SafeSearch blurring from your settings unless a school network admin or a guardian has locked it on your account.

Finally, Google is making it easier to access parental controls from Search. If you type in queries like “Google parental controls” or “Google family link”, you will see an information box explaining how to adjust your account's settings or your child’s account.

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