According to the company, the new feature is one of three updates that can help give users more control over content about themselves that is available through the popular Google search engine. Google Public Liaison for Search Danny Sullivan said the feature is one of the many things that the company is "trying to do to help people feel [in] control of their online experience."
But there is one exception to the removal policy: Users can't ask to have their explicit images removed if they are actively being commercialized.
The company previously allowed users to request the removal of explicit images that were shared without their consent.
This August, Google also unveiled a new dashboard that tracks when a user's personal contact information appears in its search results. The company explained that the dashboard will make it easier for people to monitor and request the removal of information about themselves from Google search results.
The recently announced tool will also alert users when new results show up containing their contact information.
Sullivan added that users in the United States will have access to the tool in English and that the company is currently working to bring the feature to more locations and in additional languages soon.
The company also announced that it will start to automatically blur explicit images that appear in search results for all users globally.
Google first mentioned the update in February for Safer Internet Day. (Related: Google is using AI to dig through Gmail accounts to "find exactly what you’re looking for" – and perhaps MORE.)
In a press release, Google said the SafeSearch blurring feature was designed to help "protect families from inadvertently encountering explicit imagery on Search." Explicit images on the search engine could include adult, graphic or violent content.
Sullivan concluded that the SafeSearch blurring feature will allow Google to stick to its principles that it doesn't want "to shock or surprise people with things they wouldn't expect."
In 2022, Google launched a tool called "Results about you" that allows users to request the removal of their personal contact information from search results. Data can include home addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.
In recent years, Google has been expanding the types of information users can ask to be removed from search results.
Users can request the removal of search links to their personal information like credit card numbers and government-issued IDs used in the context of doxxing or the act of sharing someone's sensitive information for malicious purposes.
However, users must keep in mind that Google can reject removal requests if they don't meet policy requirements, such as when the information is professional rather than personal or was posted on a government or educational webpage.
Google only removes information from its search results and not from the source.
Learn more about Big Tech companies like Google and their latest actions at BigTech.news.
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