Google recently announced that it is improving its policy to give people better control over their online presence on Search. The company now allows the removal of personally identifiable information, such as addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, ID numbers, handwritten signatures, medical documents, bank details, and more. The new Google Search removal form might look intimidating for some, but the process itself is really simple. Here is a step-by-step procedure for those who like to submit a request to Google.
- Start by opening the link to the Google Search removal form.
- After launching the page, you will be asked, “What do you want to do?” There is an option to “Prevent information from showing in Google Search,” but in this case, select “Remove information you see in Google Search.”
- After that, you will be asked for the scope of information you want to be removed. To be more specific about the request, choose “In Google’s search results and on a website.”
- Since you chose to indicate that the information is visible on a website or other places, Google will ask if you have already contacted them directly. The company suggests it to make the demand more direct to those concerned. Nonetheless, Google also offers another option not to do it if the users are not comfortable communicating with website owners. As such, select “No, I prefer not to.”
- After that, the request will show you the kinds of information available for removal. Select “Personal info, like ID numbers and private documents.”
- Clicking your answer to the last question will reveal the specific personal information items. You can choose from contact information, like address, phone number, or email address; government-issued ID number; bank account or credit card number; handwritten signature and images of ID docs; restricted, personal, medical documents; or confidential login credentials.
- After you specify the item for your removal request, you will now be given a form to fill out. This will help the Google Search team comply with your request faster and easier. You will be asked if the content is currently live and if it is being shared with the intention of doxxing. Moreover, you will be required to provide your name or the name of the person you are representing (in the case of parents and guardians who are making the request on behalf of their children), country of residence, contact email address, and the name of the person who owns the online information. Add to that, prepare other submissions like the “query terms” you used in the Search bar that caused your information to surface, the URLs of the web pages that show your personal information and images, and the URLs of the Google search results pages that show the links to those webpages. You can submit up to 1000 URLs. Finally, you need to “upload one or more representative screenshots of the contact information (address, phone, or email) to help us process your request,” said Google.
- Click the signature box to agree to the terms of Google regarding its new personal information removal policies.
On a side note, it is important to mention that not all removal requests will be granted by Google. While the new privacy will strengthen the company’s fight against doxxing and wrong usage of online information, Google will still evaluate the requests to ensure that it is “not limiting the availability of other information that is broadly useful.” The company will also take into account if the content is part of public records managed by government or official sources or news outlets
Moreover, Google made it clear that accepting the request doesn’t mean it will remove the bits of information completely from the internet. Instead, it will only make changes in the search algorithm to make it difficult for other users to unearth your information. “… You may wish to contact the hosting site directly, if you’re comfortable doing so,” Google suggested during the new policy announcement.