Earlier this year, Google announced a new feature to make it easier for users to remove personal data like phone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses from search results. Now, that feature is finally being rolled out to users.
On its blog, the company said that the tool is meant to help users manage their online presence by streamlining the process of requesting a removal.
The tool – which is being rolled out in stages – can be used via the Google app on smartphones by tapping on the three dots beside the search result containing the personal information.
This opens up a menu with the option to remove it.
When submitting the request, users will also need to include the reason for the removal, with Google offering several options, including, "It shows my personal contact info”, "It contains illegal info”, "It’s outdated," "It shows my contact info with an intent to harm me” and "It shows other personal info."
Depending on the reasons for removal, other sensitive personal information could also be eligible for a removal request.
However, according to the blog, there is no guarantee that the content will be removed, as Google will first have to evaluate if it will result in the removal of useful information, such as in a news article.
It is also important to note that even if the search result containing the personal data is no longer being shown on Google, the personal information will still be available on the website that originally posted it, so users have to reach out to the website directly to request its removal.
For those who can't wait until the tool is fully rolled out and integrated directly into search results, Google also included an option on their support page to make removal requests in the meanwhile.