Keep Your Personal Info Out of Google Search Results With New Alert Tool
A new tool from Google will soon be able to notify you if your personal information appears in a search.
Google’s “Results About You” tool is beginning to roll out as a beta to select users and should be available for everyone by early next year.
The tool is a part of ongoing efforts by Google to help make your online presence more manageable. The search giant recently announced a new form that enables users to request the removal of personal information from its results.
Your Personal Information on Google
Personal information, such as your Social Security number, bank account info, secure logins, home address and more, can show up without your approval.
“Results About You” will be able to keep an eye on the web for you, alerting you of any personal contact information that may appear. You’ll be able to set up the alert within the Google app on iOS or Android once the feature has been made available.
The tool will work in tandem with Google’s information removal request system, making the entire process of keeping your data safe easier from start to finish. With a request, Google may remove search results involving personally identifiable information, or (PPI).
Google defines PPI as the following information that it considers may be a risk to your personal security:
- Confidential government identification numbers, including Social Security numbers
- Bank account or credit card numbers
- Images of handwritten signatures
- Images of identification documents
- Highly restricted or official records, such as medical records
- Personal contact information, such as your physical address or phone number
- Confidential login credentials
It is critical to note that if Google approves your request, your personal information will not be removed from the web. It will, however, be removed from Google search results, making it harder to discover and pushing it into the deep web.
Using the ‘Results About You’ Feature
Most users will need to sit tight while waiting for Google to make the tool available. If you wish to check and see if the feature is accessible by your Google account, install the Google app and log in with your credentials.
Once logged in, click on your profile photo in the top right corner of the app. If the “Results About You” feature is available, you will see it listed on the screen with a blue beta badge next to it. From there, you can set up personal information alerts.
If you don’t see the feature available just yet, don’t panic. The tool should be available to all users by early next year, according to Google.
Michael Archambault is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder specializing in technology.