Bob Rankin: I Just Googled Myself, & I Feel Fine!

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By Bob Rankin

If you ever search for yourself on Google, you may be surprised by the results. Things you posted to Twitter that groggy morning after a bachelor party; blog posts or news reports that mention you in an unflattering or libelous manner; an embarrassing photo; even your home address, phone number or Social Security Number… all of these are examples things you’d probably wish you could remove from Google.

It’s not easy to remove information from Google (or any other search engine). Google’s business is indexing Internet content so that people can search it. Since Google does not control what is published on the Net, you have to start with the person who did publish what you want removed.

If you published something you regret, delete it. If the offending info is on someone else’s site, ask the site administrator to delete it. Then, when Google’s Web-crawler indexes the site again, it will delete Google’s cached copy of the now-missing content, and it will no longer appear in search results. But that may take weeks or months, depending on how often Google indexes that particular website.

To speed up the process, you can file a removal request with Google. But first, you must be sure that the content you want removed from Google search results has been removed from the Web. Again, this is easy if you control the publishing site. But if someone else does, and you can’t get that person to remove the offending content, Google won’t delete it from search results.

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