Ready to Remove Yourself from Google? These Tips Will Help

How many times have you heard the expression, “just Google it?” Probably way too many to count, and you’ve probably used it yourself as well, as most people have. But do you know who started using that term in the first place? It was actually Larry Page,the guy who co-invented Google. He wrote a note on a mailing list to a friend, “have fun and keep Googling.” That was in 1998, and it was officially recognized as a verb by the esteemed Oxford Dictionary in 2006. Considering how many people “just Google it” every day (about 70 000 searches per second, which comes out to an astounding 5.4 billion searches per day), just about everyone has embraced the term.

While those are amazingly impressive numbers, there’s a lot of concern surrounding some of the information that Google provides. Google’s business model is designed to collect as much information about everyone and everything possible, so they can store it and then sell it to advertisers. Unfortunately, that includes a lot of personal information and data about you, and it’s available for anyone to see. And “anyone” can include cybercriminals who want to use that information for illegal purposes like fraud or identity theft. That’s why many people are now doing all they can to remove themselves from Google. The questionhow to remove info from Google search?’ is not that easy to answer, so we’ve put together some tips to help you do it successfully.

Data-Driven Cyberbots

So, where does Google get all of that personal information about you? The answer may astound you: each day, millions of cyberbots are searching the internet for anything that has your name on it or is in any way related to it. They gobble up the data they find at lightning speed and store it until somebody does a Google search for your name.

Read: Understanding the Latest Cybersecurity Trends

But data-driven Google cyberbots aren’t the only way that Google gets its information – they also gather it from data brokers, who are also known as people-search sites. Those sites sell their information to anyone willing to pay for it, and that’s the biggest reason why you need to remove yourself from Google. Here’s why: the information that Google gathers from those people-search sites is often filled with errors and inaccuracies that can not only lead to cybercrime like identity theft, it can also do some serious damage to your reputation.

Removing Yourself from People Finder Sites

Because Google depends so heavily on those people-search sites to gather data on you, your first step should be to remove yourself from those. In addition to containing lots of erroneous information about you, those sites dig for all kinds of unauthorized personal information in order to boost their Google search ranking results – information like your income, your home mortgage, your credit score, family members’ names and locations and a lot more. That’s far too much personal information about you to share with anyone willing to pay for it, because it can include cybercrooks who are looking to commit some type of illegal activity. Once you delete the information from those sites, Google will no longer find it nor display it.

Just be sure you don’t limit your efforts to the top people-search sites; if you delete only the information on those, Google will find it on the lesser-known websites so it’ll be available again for people to see. Here’s another suggestion: use a disposable email service when doing your opt-outs. Otherwise, your inbox will be inundated with a ridiculous amount of spam.

Read: How to stop data collection by Microsoft on Windows 10

Removing Other Data

While removing information from people-search sites is your first step, it’s not the only one. You don’t want Google indexing your social media accounts, so make sure your privacy settings are set to prevent information sharing. You’ll also need to go through your social media profiles and posts to remove any personal information that the Google cyberbots could link to, and the more personal details you can remove, the better.

 

Google office building in the Company's campus in Silicon Valley

Image source: zdnet

If you have a website or post a blog, remove all sensitive information you may have shared on those sites. Your personal information may also appear on other people’s websites, like a former employer’s “about us” page that hasn’t been updated. There also may be articles or white papers you’ve posted on other websites that you want removed. In those instances, you’ll need to contact the owner of the site and ask them to remove the listing or posting that includes your data.

One area that most people often overlook is Google itself – they forget that Google has policies in place to keep potentially harmful information off of their results. That can include everything from intimate sexual images you never authorized to fake pornography to sensitive medical or financial information to just about anything that could pose a significant risk of identity theft or fraud. Asking Google to remove that type of information starts with a Google removal request form, and remember that it never hurts to ask. You’re also entitled to request that Google remove any outdated information as well.

 

 


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Nikolaus Oosterhof

Nikolaus has a degree in software development. He is passionate about gadgets with a screen, nostalgic for phones, a retired gamer and open source programmer. He likes also to write about macOS and Windows. design web pages and debug long programs!

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