How to Remove Your Personal Information From Google
Google is undoubtedly the most popular search engine globally, accounting for about 88.5% of the global search engine market in early 2019. Google has become a vital part of our lives, helping to boost our online business ratings and providing us with information whenever we need it. Everyone, irrespective of demographics, benefits from Google one way or another.
You are just a click away from getting any information you want about places, topics, things, and even people — once they’re on the internet. This means that anyone out there can get hold of your information too, whenever they want it.
It can be scary to realize that any Tom, Dick, and Jane can find out stuff about you without your knowledge and use it for whatever purpose they deem fit. Not to worry, this article will show you how you can get your details off Google without hassles. First, let’s take a quick dive into how Google gets your information in the first place.
How Does Google Get My Information?
There are many channels through which Google collects information about you. Google has a mechanism for tracking what we search for and the search results we click. If you are on YouTube, you can be sure that Google has adequate data on your viewing habits because; wait for it — Google owns YouTube!
Apart from searches, clicks on searches, and YouTube, Google collects information about users through the following ways:
Web Crawling: Google has a web crawler called Googlebot. Googlebot continuously browses the web, indexing website contents and gathering as much information as they can. When your website appears on Google’s search results, Googlebot made it happen.
Web Analytics: Many websites use Google Analytics to gain insights about their website performance. Google gathers information for itself through this software.
Google Ads: Google uses Google Ads to gather data about the ads people click and the keywords advertisers use frequently.
Android OS: Too many people use the Android OS without realizing that it’s a major data collection channel for Google.
Email: Yahoo, Microsoft Outlook, and Gmail are the world’s most popular email services. Google owns Gmail, and if you have a Gmail account, Google invariably has access to your email content.
How to Erase Your Personal Information From Google
If you’ve discovered your personal information on Google, you can remove them by doing any of the following:
1. Delete From the Source
Sometimes, the personal information you see when you search Google is the information you published sometime in the past. Anything you post online can be picked up by Google, including the posts you make on social media platforms like Facebook. For this reason, internet users are always advised to exercise caution whenever putting out online content.
If you’ve published certain information about yourself and you’d like to take it down, you should do that from the source. You’ll need to visit the web page or the platform where you shared the information and delete them. When you do this, the information would no longer be available for Google to access and would not show on any search engine after a while.
2. Contact the Website Owner
If you find some of your personal information on a website that you don’t own, you should ask the website owner to take it down. It’s easier to contact the website owners over the phone if you already know who they are. If they’re anonymous or have no personal relationship with them, you can contact them using the contact us link, Whois.net, or by contacting the website’s hosting company.
To contact the website owner through the contact us link, visit the website and scroll down to the bottom. You should find a contact us link or any contact information for the website owner. Alternately, you can search for the website owners’ contact on Google through a Whois search. To do this, type ” whois + the websites’ URL” on Google and find the contact information under Administrative Contact or Registrant Email. If you still can’t find the site owners’ contact, you should contact their hosting company.
3. Contact Google
If you couldn’t contact the site owner or they’ve refused to take down the information, your last resort would be to contact Google. Google would ordinarily not remove your personal information from its search engine because they don’t control what information users put out on the internet. It’s simple — don’t put out information that you wish to keep private, and whoever puts up information on the net is responsible for taking it down.
Google would not help you remove your name, date of birth, phone number, or any information displayed publicly on government databases. However, Google can help you remove certain information if putting out such information in public could expose you to some form of attack.
Here are some of the information Google may take down on your behalf:
- Information That Is Against the Law
Google will remove any information if such information offends the law. Information under this category includes data that violates copyright laws or portray child abuse.
Apart from deleting information on personal grounds or legal reasons, Google can delete other information if deleting them would be in public policy. Information under this heading is subject to Google’s discretion.
First impressions indeed play a significant role in shaping your public image or perception. This is true offline as well as on the internet. You do not want the first information someone searches about you to be damaging to your reputation or reveal too much about you that you’d rather keep private.
If you search your name on Google and find the information you’d rather not have online, you can decide to take them out by following the processes laid down in this article. However, it’s always best to ensure that such information never gets out in the first place by exercising caution when uploading stuff on the internet.