Privacy, thankfully, is still a thing.
Google unveiled a new tool Wednesday at I/O, its annual developer conference, which makes it easier for people to request that the advertising giant remove personal data like their home address from search results. Now, instead of having to go through some lengthy submission process, if you find your personal details in search results you can quickly tap and ask Google to pull them.
“When you’re searching on Google and find results about you that contain your phone number, home address, or email address, you’ll be able to quickly request their removal from Google Search — right as you find them,” explains a Google blog post. “With this new tool, you can request removal of your contact details from Search with a few clicks, and you’ll also be able to easily monitor the status of these removal requests.”
The tool follows on a late April policy update, which broadened the types of personal data Google will consider removing from search results.
Notably, this tool allows you to request the removal of personal information from search — it does not, however, guarantee its removal nor will it remove it from the site that’s actually hosting the offending details. Still, as a significant majority of internet search engine traffic is done via Google, this tool packs a punch.
“It’s important to note that 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,” notes Wednesday’s blog post.
During a Monday press call, Ron Eden, Google’s group product manager for Search, explained that requests for removal would be evaluated by a combination of algorithmic tools and humans. Eden also said that requesters should see results quickly, though he didn’t specify whether those results would be to their liking.
The new request-for-removal feature, according to Google, is slated to be released “in the coming months” specifically in the Google app. However, people can also request Google pull personal data from search by tapping the three dots next to specific Google Search results.
So start Googling yourself, and start putting in those requests. It’s never too early to proactively protect your online privacy.