How Google Is Enhancing User Privacy Options

Google is releasing a tool that will help users to delete any of their personal data that has found its way online.

By Joseph Farago | Published

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Google has been under massive scrutiny for relinquishing and selling user data without their knowledge. The tech company is now releasing a tool to offer users better personal searching on the engine. The device would remove search results that could usurp a user’s personal information like email addresses, phone numbers, and other identifiable.

The tool will appear in the “About this result” panel on the top right screen. After clicking the three dots in the corner, a menu containing a few different options will be revealed. A new “Remove result” option will be included at the bottom of the menu, where you can then indicate if your phone number, email address, or home address was located in the search results.

After making that request, you’ll be able to monitor the search results in a Google app called “Results about you.” In the app, you’ll be able to see if your requests have been approved or are still pending, showing you the status of your “Remove result” usage. The app will also let you clarify why you’d like specific search results removed, helping to make your case against eliminating the Google results you’ve taken issue with.

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In the result-removal part of the Google app, there’ll be several routes you can take to clarify the problem. Options in the app include: personal contact info inclusion, contact info is revealed in an attempt to harm one’s privacy, other personal information is shown, illegal info, and the personal data is outdated. Google did release a statement about how not every request will be granted successfully, but including ample reasoning will help the company fulfill your search-result needs.

Google released a statement about the new function, noting that the search tool restricts concealing one’s info on the web. The tech company clarified that limiting search results with someone’s private info does not mean that it’s eliminated from the internet entirely. Instead, Google encourages users to contact the host directly if they have a problem with personal information popping up on an individual website.

So far, the Google search tool has only rolled out to a limited amount of users. The device can only be operated in the United States and Europe, but you can still make search-removal requests on the Google App from any country. People can make the removal pleas from the app or your computer.

Google cracking down on its privacy issues isn’t random but comes after many settlements claiming that the tech company doesn’t protect users’ personal information sufficiently. Earlier in 2022, the state of Illinois filed a class-action lawsuit against the company claiming that its Google Photos infringed upon privacy legislation. Google settled for a $100 million arrangement, paying out any resident of Illinois who used the application between 2015 to 2022.

Locals who participated in Google applications during this seven-year period can receive up to $400 in damages. Though Google agreed to the settlement, a spokesperson for the company recently defended its use of facial recognition technology, stating that users have a choice to turn off this function whenever they want to. Still, many unknowing users discovered that Google was storing and collecting data from their images without their knowledge.