Google’s privacy-focused “Results about you” tool is rolling

How would you like to remove some of your personal identifiable information (PII) and contact data from Google Search results? Back in May, during Google I/O, the company announced its new “Results about you” tool that could be used to request that personal information such as your address, phone number, and email, be removed from search results. And this tool is now rolling out to some Android users.

Google starts pushing out the “Results about you” tool that requests the removal of your personal data from search

To see if “Results about you” (which sounds like the name of some new sitcom about a Google-type company) has hit your Android device yet, open up the Google app and tap on your profile picture in the upper right corner of the display. Under the menu that appears, you’ll see a listing for “Results about you” which is listed as a Beta. Tap on it and you’ll be sent to a colorful page headed in blue with the words, “Take control of results about you.”

Google writes, “Your info is yours to share-or not. We’re here to help you remove personal info you see on Google.” Tapping on the blue-colored pill-shaped button that says “Learn how” asks you to use Google Search to look up your full name (adding your home city if necessary) to see what kind of information Google has about you.

If you find personal data in the search results, tap on the three-button menu next to those particular results. Then tap on the Remove result button; this will guide you through the process of sending a request to Google asking to have this information removed from Search.

Google has included a caveat about how it decides whether or not to grant your request to eliminate personal data from search. The company said, “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.”

And as Google notes, “removing contact information from Google Search doesn’t remove it from the web, which is why you may wish to contact the hosting site directly, if you’re comfortable doing so.”

“Results about you” is a tool that asks Google to remove your personal information from search

With “Results about you,” you can also check on the progress being made on your active requests to remove personal data from search and also make another request to remove even more personal information. Google also asks why you want certain information removed from Google Search and you can choose from the following pre-fabricated responses:

  • It shows my personal contact info.
  • It shows my contact info with an intent to harm me.
  • It shows other personal info.
  • It contains illegal info.
  • It’s outdated.

How does Google determine whether it will remove your personal identifiable information (PII)? The company says that it “may remove PII that has the potential to create significant risks of identity theft, financial fraud, harmful direct contact, or other specific harms.” In addition, Google states that it tries to preserve information if it is considered to be of public interest. So information that contains info about you won’t be removed from Google Search if it is part of the following:

  • Content on or from government and other official sources.
  • Newsworthy content.
  • Professionally-relevant content.
“Results about you” is rolling out right now in the U.S. and Europe. Even in the states though, the roll out has not yet been completed so it is possible that you haven’t received it yet. If that’s the case, you can request that your PII be removed from Google Search directly from this Google support page.

Mobile Computing