Google will now remove your phone number and other information from search results. Here’s how to do it.

Google is now allowing people to remove their personal contact information – phone numbers, physical addresses and email addresses – from their search results. The search giant owned by Alphabet said on Wednesday it was making the move to protect users from “unwanted direct contact or even physical harm”.

Google said it had already allowed people to request removal of some specific types of information, but that the new policy represents a broader attempt to help protect users’ personal data. Prior to the new policy, people could request removal of more specific information, such as bank account or credit card numbers.

The move comes amid an increase in online fraud. The Federal Trade Commission reported that consumers lost $5.8 billion to scammers last year, a 70% jump from the year before. Much of this fraud is perpetrated through online scams such as romance cheatsas well as through telephone solicitation and identity theft.

“[T]The internet is always evolving – with information appearing in unexpected places and being used in new ways – so our policies and protections need to evolve as well,” said Michelle Chang, Google’s global search policy leader, in a blog post about the new policy.

Google noted that removing the information can also protect people from doxxing, which is when personal information, such as emails or addresses, is shared publicly with malicious intent, such as to encourage online harassment.

Here’s how to remove your personal information from Google searches.

What will Google remove from its search results?

Google said it will now remove personal contact information from its search results, including your phone number, email address or physical address.

Previously, the company only allowed people to request removal of more sensitive personal data such as social security numbers, bank and credit card account numbers, images of personal signatures and medical records.

How do I ask Google to remove my phone number and other personal information?

Visit this Google site to start the process. The page will ask you to provide website addresses that include the information you want removed from Google search results.

What happens after I ask Google to remove my information?

Google says that you will receive an automatic reply confirming that it has received your request. Then the survey platform will review the request and may ask for more information. For example, if the request does not have a web address, it will ask you to correct this and resubmit the application.

Then Google will let you know if it takes action. For example, it can remove website addresses from all search queries or remove them from specific queries that include your name or other personal data.

Will Google give the green light to all requests?

Not. Google said it will review all requests to make sure it’s not limiting broadly useful content, such as news articles. It will also examine whether the content is part of the public record, such as government files. In this case, Google says it won’t remove the data from the search results either.

If Google removes my personal data, will it disappear from the internet?

Not. Google cautions that removing content from your search result doesn’t mean it’s out of the wider Internet. To ensure that all information is clean, you should also contact any hosting site where your information appears and ask that company to remove it.

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