Here's How To Make Google Scrub Your Personal Data From Search Results
You ever Googled yourself? No, it's not an improper question—we're talking about the actual process of putting your own name into Google and seeing what comes up. You might be surprised. Shady websites charge fees to list huge databases of personal information, matching names with addresses and phone numbers that may no longer be accurate or that you simply may not want to be visible from a search engine.
Google is obviously the largest and most popular search engine, and the company finally has a tool that promises to help people take control of how they appear in searches. To make use of it, you'll obviously have to have a Google account. Make sure you're logged-in, and then head to myactivity.google.com/results-about-you to begin the process.
In case it wasn't obvious, getting started means clicking on the big "Get started" button. This will take you to a form where you have to input the specific contact details you want to be alerted about. You can put down as many names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses as you like. Select how you'd like to get notified—either by e-mail, or with push notifications on Android devices—and then you're done with the first part.
The next part is to simply wait. Google will trawl its own search results looking for results that feature your contact information. Once it finds results, you'll then find them yourself in your e-mail inbox or phone's notifications. Open the e-mail or tap the notification and it will take you back to the Results About You page where you can review Google's findings.
Now, obviously, Google can't remove information from websites that it doesn't own, so the information will still be out there on the web. However, if you'd like to have the results removed from search, you can request that Google do so by ticking the checkbox besides the results you wish to flag. However, remember, it's a request, not a demand and Google may or may not actually remove the results, depending on exactly how they line up with its policies surrounding doxxing.
Head over to the "Results about you" page if you'd like to get started. If you instead find content on Google that clearly goes against the company's personal information rules but isn't contact information, or if the request concerns someone under the age of 18, you may want to head over to this page to request the removal of your "personal content" from Google searches.