You can now ask Google to remove phone numbers from search results

You can also have Google pull addresses and login details.

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Jon Fingas
April 27, 2022 6:38 PM
In this article: privacy, doxxing, Internet, news, gear, Google, web
Google closeup logo displayed on a phone screen, smartphone on a keyboard is seen in this multiple exposure illustration, the company's symbol is globally recognized. Google, LLC is an American tech giant, a multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, a search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware. It is considered one of the Big Four technology companies in the U.S. . Amsterdam, the Netherlands on October 22, 2020 (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google has long accepted requests to remove some personal information from search results, but now that option should be considerably more useful. Google has expanded the policy to let you ask for the removal of contact info like phone numbers, email addresses and physical addresses. You can also have Google remove login credentials if they pop up in queries.

The company's previous stance limited requests to special instances, such as doxxing campaigns, as well as conspicuous fraud targets like bank and credit card details. Google will still review requests to be sure they're honest — it won't scrub references that are a matter of public record, for instance. A politician couldn't simply ask to have their office phone number removed.

The expansion follows other recent efforts to curb the spread of sensitive info. As of last year, Google users under 18 can request the removal of their photos from image searches. However, this might be one of the more important developments. While the widened policy isn't guaranteed to protect your privacy, it could thwart doxxers, harassers and stalkers who are counting on a quick Google search to reach their targets.

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