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Google wakes up 
to privacy

Google is allowing easier removal of results containing one’s personal information and has added to the kinds of explicit content that can be part of removal requests.

Google has announced a major step towards greater protection of privacy, giving people greater control over their personal information on the web.

It follows numerous complaints over the years that Google does not have enough respect fro privacy. Among other, it tracks users across all their activity on Google Search and Android app downloads. It has also been accused of not paying enough attention to how users can protect themselves from unwanted privacy violations.

Now, it has refined the following forms of personal control and privacy (information supplied by Google):

  • Results About You: Major updates- to this tool, making it easier for users to remove their personal contact information from Search. The tool will proactively monitor the web for results containing users’ contact information and enable immediate removal requests. Users will also be notified when new results appear containing their contact info.
  • Personal Sexual Content – Removals Policy Update: Expanding removal policies to include more types of personal explicit content that can be requested for removal from Search. This includes a shift away from a “consent” model. It is also making ranking updates to demote deepfake explicit content in Search and penalise domains with “a high density of identified CSAM and/or NCEI”. Google does not elaborate on the acronyms. The process for requesting removals will be streamlined via updated webforms.
  • SafeSearch Blurring Setting: Making the new safe default blurring setting available to all users. This feature was announced as part of Safer Internet Day in February 2023.
  • Parental Controls Onebox: Simplifying access to parental controls via the Search box. When users search for ‘google parental controls’ or ‘google family link’ and related queries, they will see a onebox to manage their parental controls online. This feature was silently launched earlier this year.

Google provided the following details on updates:

An easier way to find and remove results about you

Last year, we launched the Results about you tool to make it easy for you to request the removal of search results that contain your personal phone number, home address or email, right from the Google app or however you access Search. Now, we’ve significantly updated and improved the tool, helping you keep track of your personal contact information in Search and alerting you when we find it, so you can get it removed. 

In the coming days, we’ll be rolling out a new dashboard that will let you know if web results with your contact information are showing up on Search. Then, you can quickly request the removal of those results from Google — right in the tool. We’ll also notify you when new results from the web containing your contact info pop up in Search, to give you added peace of mind. 

You can access this tool in the Google app by clicking on your Google account photo and selecting “Results about you”, or by visiting This tool is available in the U.S. in English to start, and we’re working to bring it to new languages and locations soon.

Earlier this year, we announced a new safeguard that helps protect you and your family from inadvertently encountering explicit imagery on Search. With this update, explicit imagery — such as adult or graphic violent content — will now be blurred by default when it appears in Search results. 

The new SafeSearch blurring setting is rolling out for all users globally this month. You can adjust your settings and turn it off at any time, unless a guardian or school network administrator has locked the setting. 

We’re also making it easier to find parental controls directly in Search. Just type in a relevant query like “google parental controls” or “google family link” and you will see a box with information on how to manage your parental controls.  

Updated policies on personal explicit images

We have long had policies that enable you to remove non-consensual explicit imagery from Search. Now, we’re building on these protections to enable people to remove from Search any of their personal,  explicit images that they no longer wish to be visible in Search.  For example, if you created and uploaded explicit content to a website, then deleted it, you can request its removal from Search if it’s being published elsewhere without approval. This policy doesn’t apply to content you are currently commercialising. 

More broadly, whether it’s for websites containing personal information, explicit imagery or any other removal requests, we’ve updated and simplified the forms you use to submit requests. Of course, removing content from Google Search does not remove it from the web or other search engines, but we hope these changes give you more control over private information appearing in Google Search. 

We know it’s important to stay in control of your online experience. These new tools and updates are some of the many ways we’re continuing to make Google the safest way to Search.

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