Google on Wednesday said it has begun rolling out an option for users to request excluding search results featuring their phone numbers and other sensitive personal information, potentially adding an extra layer of protection for private data online.
The new feature, called “Results about you,” helps streamline the process for US users to ask for pages that include their home addresses, emails and personal phone numbers to be removed from Google’s search results.
Upon receiving a removal request, Google
(GOOG) 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,” according to a company blog post from May, when the feature was first announced, that was updated Wednesday.
Google may choose to remove the page from its search results, but, while information will no longer appear in search results, it will still live on online.
“Even though removing these results doesn’t scrub your contact information from the web overall, we’re doing everything we can to safeguard your information on Search,” the company said Wednesday.
Google also plans to introduce an option early next year for users to receive alerts when new search results appear with their contact information.
The new options expand on Google’s previous efforts to help users remove personal contact details from search results to protect themselves from identity theft and doxxing, or the practice of posting private information online to target individuals or groups.