Google Enhances User Privacy with New Search Result Control Features

Google's latest privacy update empowers US users to control search results and explicit content. A step forward in user data control and privacy protection.

Aug 5, 2023 - 10:31
Aug 5, 2023 - 10:32
Google Enhances User Privacy with New Search Result Control Features
Google Enhances User Privacy with New Search Result Control Features

Google has introduced significant updates this week, offering US users the ability to manage unwanted search results and explicit content online.

The tech giant unveiled a user-friendly dashboard that informs individuals if search results with their contact information are being displayed on Google's search engine. This proactive approach allows users to quickly request the removal of such results directly through the dashboard. Danielle Romain, the vice president of Trust at Google, explained the purpose of the new feature in a blog post, ensuring users have added "peace of mind" when it comes to their online data.

Additionally, Google is now enabling users to delete explicit images of themselves that they no longer wish to be visible in search results. If an individual has uploaded explicit content to a website and subsequently deleted it, they can request its removal from Google's search engine if it continues to appear elsewhere without their consent. However, it is worth noting that this policy excludes content being used for commercial purposes.

"We've updated and simplified the forms you use to submit requests for content removal, whether it's for websites containing personal information, explicit imagery, or any other removal requests," said Romain.

Despite this notable step forward in user privacy, Google's latest privacy updates remain limited to personal explicit images and contact information. Digital privacy advocates have long voiced concerns over the discrepancy between US policy and Europe's legally mandated "right to be forgotten" laws. In 2014, the EU court established the "right to be forgotten," granting European citizens the right to request the removal of certain search results. However, the same court later ruled in 2019 that Google was not obliged to apply this right outside of the EU.

Conspicuously missing from Google's recent privacy updates is any mention of addressing generative AI—a prominent privacy battleground in the realm of Big Tech. Many users and privacy advocates are urging technology companies to provide opt-out mechanisms for using users' digital data to train AI models as companies increasingly invest in large language models.

While Google's latest efforts represent a significant advancement in user data control, critics argue that further measures are necessary to align US privacy policies with the robust privacy protections offered by the European Union. As technology continues to evolve, privacy advocates stress the importance of staying ahead of the curve to safeguard user data in an increasingly digital world.

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