Google announced Thursday upcoming changes for explicit image search results. These updates affect both how users search and what information can be found on a person.
Notably, the change makes it easier to people remove explicit images of themselves either shared without consent, often referred to as revenge porn, or that were uploaded consensually and removed or had consent revoked but still appears in search results.
“For example, if you created and uploaded explicit content to a website, then deleted it, you can request its removal from Search if it’s being published elsewhere without approval. This policy doesn’t apply to content you are currently commercializing,” a release from Google Vice President of trust Danielle Romain states.
The company noted that the ability to remove such content has been in place, and the changes are building upon the existing framework. The request forms to remove explicit images and personal information have been updated and simplified.
Though Google notes that this cannot take the content down or prevent such images or information from appearing on other search engines, the company’s dominance in search can still make a profound impact.
To request such removal, users enter their inquiry, and then click the menu icon indicated by three dots. From there, they can click “Remove this result” and select the appropriate reason. More information on how to remove results about can be found on Google’s Results About You page.
For anyone who’s done some innocent searching and had less-than-innocent results pop up at an inopportune time, Google has a solution: explicit images will now be blurred as a default. The blurring feature was announced earlier this year, but the change makes it harder for violent or sexual images to inadvertently come through.
If that doesn’t work for users, however, the blurring feature can be switched off. Though network administrators, like parents and guardians or those at school, can lock the setting. In the same vein, Google said it’s made parental controls easier to find by allowing users to search for these features with phrases like “google parental controls” or “google family link,” according to a release from the company.
“We know it’s important to stay in control of your online experience,” the release reads. “These new tools and updates are some of the many ways we’re continuing to make Google the safest way to Search.”
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.