Under pressure from European authorities, Google has long offered users the ability to request the removal of results from Google Search that involve personal data, but only for manually submitted requests, lacking a way to scan and “bulk” select this type of content. The feature, suggestively named Results about you, is intended to solve the problem of personal data “leaked” on the internet.
Announced back in May at Google I/O 2022, the new utility starts with the data attached to your Google account and automatically highlights any references pulled up by Google’s search engine. It targets any information that might contravene European GDPR legislation, such as home address, phone number, email addresses used, etc.
Added to Android devices, the utility makes it easy to apply requests to hide this information from Google-run platforms. Important to know, the references mentioned are not actually deleted from Google’s servers, just hidden from the general public. For example, on Google Search queries that include hidden results, their blocking will be announced at the bottom of the page.
The new “Results about you” section is added to the main menu activated when selecting your profile picture, displayed in the top-right corner of the Google Search interface. Still in beta, the utility is currently only available to a limited group of users included in the test program.
Depending on your situation, you may be able to choose between several justifications for hiding your data:
- Show my personal contact information.
- Displays my contact information with intent to harm me.
- Displays other personal information.
- Contains illegal information.
- The information is no longer current.
Once submitted, requests for removal of information first reach Google’s moderator teams, and the wait can take several days or weeks. Eventually, approved requests appear in the Approved tab. Depending on your activity and presence online, you may need to revisit this section of your Google Account to see if other sensitive information about you has been posted online.