Ever stumbled upon your own name during a late-night Google search, only to find a trove of outdated social media profiles, long-forgotten usernames, or even personal details like an old address or phone number? It’s unsettling, to say the least, to see bits of your digital history scattered across search results. However, there’s good news: Google has stepped up with a solution.
In August, Google unveiled a new feature for its search engine that empowers users to monitor when their personal contact details show up in search results. Aptly named “Results About You,” this tool doesn’t just highlight where your information appears; it also gives you the power to request its removal from the search results.
Alongside Google’s existing privacy tools, “Results About You” bolsters your ability to manage what the world sees about you online, at least through the lens of Google. If you’re interested in keeping a tighter rein on your digital presence, here’s how you can use this new feature.
Activating ‘Results About You’:
Firstly, this feature is exclusive to those with Google accounts. So, ensure your account is active:
Navigate to the ‘Results About You’ activity page.
Click “Get Started” and follow the instructions provided.
Google will prompt you to enter any personal data you want to be tracked—this could be your name, addresses, phone numbers, or email addresses.
Confirm your details and choose your preferred notification method—either email alerts or push notifications to your linked devices.
Google will commence scanning for your details across search results and notify you post-scan, which may take several hours.
You can always go back to the ‘Results About You’ page to update or edit your details.
Removing Your Information from Google Search:
It’s important to note that while Google can’t directly erase information from external websites, it can assist in getting your personal details off of its search results.
To remove personal information, you have two options:
Via ‘Results About You’:
Access the ‘Results About You’ activity page.
Go to “Results to review.”
Mark the blue box beside any result you wish to have removed and submit your request.
Google evaluates each submission based on its content removal policies. You can track the status of your request on the same page and even reverse the removal if necessary.
Through Google’s Help Center Removal Form:
Visit the personal content removal request form provided by Google support.
Complete the form with the necessary information, including content type. You may need to provide screenshots, URLs, and search terms.
Submit your request.
For those keen on a deeper dive into managing their online privacy, Google’s Safety Center offers a wealth of resources and information. It’s now more feasible than ever to take command of your digital footprint, courtesy of tools like ‘Results About You’.