Google recently announced the release of its new “Results About You” tool. The purpose of this tool is to help people remove personal information from search results. With this feature, you can remove identifiable details you aren’t comfortable sharing on the internet. 

PII or Personally Identifiable Information, like name, social security number, driver’s license, home address, email addresses, and more, can be removed or redacted from Google’s search pages. 

The information can be used for doxing, cyberbullying, identity theft, and other types of criminal activities. Thanks to this update, Google aims to secure users from any unwanted leakage. 

Understanding Google’s Results About You Tool 

The Results About You feature was first introduced in May of 2022. This feature works to streamline removing personal contacts and other sensitive information from Google Search results

With the new tool, you can request to have this information removed. It is also possible to track the progress of your requests in real time. 

Understanding the Availability of the Results About You Tool

It’s possible to start using the Google Results About You tool now. It can be accessed on the Google app, along with other platforms. 

Requesting Removal with the New Feature 

If you find your PII in search results, you can click on the three-dot overflow menu located in the top right corner. 

In the past, the request to remove processes was long. You must visit the Google Support Page to complete the proper form. You must also include the URL of the search result where the PII is located. 

Feature Limitations 

It’s important to note that removing contact information and PII from search queries won’t delete it from the internet completely. Any information that is removed will show up on the site where it was originally found. In this situation, Google advises users to approach these hosting sites and request that they remove the information. It is necessary to have valid grounds to do this. 

Google’s New and Updated Policy on Private Information 

Results About You syncs with the latest policies from Google (the latest are from April 2022). This policy explained the harmful impact of having private information online. It also looked at the feedback that Google users provided and the request for Google to offer user-generated removal requests. 

However, the policy emphasized reviewing the content on the website where the private information was originally published. 

It’s worth noting that “broadly useful” information provided by public records and news articles on official sources and governmental websites doesn’t apply to this feature. If you request one of these sites, it will not be applicable. 

Google Notifications

If you want to secure private information online, Google will notify users immediately if they appear on Google Search results without prior consent. However, this actual feature of Google’s Results About You Tool is scheduled to be rolled out in early 2023. 

Why Does This Update Matter?

In the past, Google has taken several steps to help reduce the misuse of Search. For example, Google offered more options for teens and kids to help safeguard their images. 

The latest updates show how Google is committed to ensuring the internet offers a more wholesome and secure web environment. 


Steps for Removing Personal Information from Google Using the New Tool

Now that you know all about the new feature launched by Google, it’s time to learn how to use it. 

If you find a page in Google’s search results that contains personally identifiable information, you can click the three-dot menu icon and access the “about this result” panel. 

Choose “remove result.” Once selected, you will go to a removal request form. This is the form that requests more information to help Google understand why the page should be removed from its index.

It’s also possible to navigate to this form when you tap on your profile picture and choose “Results about you.”

The information removal tool provided by Google lets you request to have all pages de-indexed if they contain the following:

  • Confidential government identification such as your U.S. Social Security Number
  • Credit card numbers
  • Bank account numbers
  • Images of your identification documents
  • Images of any handwritten signatures 
  • Confidential login credentials
  • Personal contact information (email addresses, phone numbers, and physical addresses)
  • Highly personal, official, or restricted records like your medical records

Google will then send you an email confirming they received the request. They will also let you know about any other actions that were taken. 

Google will only deny your request if the information is on a page that is considered “broadly helpful” (as mentioned above). This includes things like a news article. Additionally, any information on public records, such as government websites, will not be removed. 

Is Your Personal Information Really That Vulnerable?

You may wonder if your personal information is really that vulnerable online. However, when you enter something – like a credit card number on a website – you may hesitate for a moment. Do you get that slightly nagging sense of vulnerability because of all the headlines about data hacks and breaches? If so, you likely just push them aside and move forward with the transaction. 

Unfortunately, if you are constantly entering sensitive information online, there’s a good chance you have had some of your data stolen at some point. In fact, one estimate states that the average American has had their data stolen a minimum of four times in 2019. The hits keep coming in, too. An example is the T-Mobile data breach in 2021 that impacted more than 100 million people. 

There is some good news. Not all hacks are created equal, and you can take steps to protect yourself. Along with the latest update from Google, you should do a few other things. 

Understand Your Risk

As mentioned, not all cyberattacks are created equal. Also, not all personal data is the same. For example, it could be that an organization that has collected your information was the victim of a ransomware attack. If this happens, your information is not stolen; however, the organization’s copy would be considered “unusable.”

If an organization had some customer data stolen, consider what data the thieves received. You should consider a few things to determine your risk level. For example, if the data was just your purchase history, it probably won’t be used to hurt you. However, this is an entirely different story if it was your credit card number. 

The fact is that data breaches are a great time to change your passwords. This is especially for brokerages, banks, and any other organization that retains your credit card information. Along with using unique passwords, you should also enable two-factor authentication. Consider closing any old unused accounts, so the information is no longer available online. 

Understanding the Market for Your Stolen Data 

When data breaches occur, they are usually considered financial crimes. However, the hackers don’t usually use the information stolen themselves. Instead, they will sell it on the black market, usually through different websites on the dark web. The goal is to let scammers and criminals use it. 

The black market is full of all types of personal data. In fact, there is so much “out there,” most of it is worth much less than you would think. For example, someone’s stolen PayPal account will only sell for about $30. 

While this is true, it doesn’t mean that people won’t steal yours. As a result, you must protect it from harm. 

Google’s Ongoing Efforts to Help Protect Users’ Personal Data and Information 

Regarding your personal information and data, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself. While this is true, Google is also taking steps to help with this. 

The latest update from Google is a prime example of how you can protect yourself and your personal information. Take advantage of this tool if you find information online that should not be there. This is true for your person and your business. 

Just like people, small businesses are often the victims of security breaches and data theft. Utilizing Google’s new Results About You tool will (hopefully) provide at least a small amount of protection from these nefarious individuals. 

Small Business SEO Offers Ongoing Protection for All Business Clients 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the vastness of the World Wide Web. At Small Business SEO, we are here to help protect you and your personal information. 

Along with helping monitor your information and requesting personal information be removed, we offer ongoing optimization services to ensure your website remains at the top of SERPs. 

The first step in taking advantage of our services is contacting us. We can conduct a full assessment of your website and how secure it is. We work with clients who have businesses of all sizes and can provide the SEO and safeguarding benefits you want and need. Get in touch today to learn more. We can set up an initial consultation to discuss your needs and see where you currently stand regarding the safety and security of your personal information and data.