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Anyone under 18 years old can ask Google to remove photos of themselves from search results

Other updates include less ad-targeting for users under 18.

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Image: KnowTechie

Google is… growing a conscience? New changes announced today mean that the advertising giant will no longer allow ad targeting of the under-18’s based on age, gender, or interests. The company will also let under-18’s ask for their images to be scrubbed from Google’s image results, and YouTube will default to the most private settings when something is uploaded.

It’s all part of an industry-wide push to better protect our youth while online. Google also mentions that some countries are introducing regulations to this effect, so it wants to provide “consistent product experiences and user controls” across all of its products.

That’s similar to the changes Facebook implemented over at Instagram last month. Any under-16’s will have their accounts set to private by default, and they banned certain categories of ad targeting at that age group.

Other changes coming to Google services include SafeSearch being turned on automatically for any under-18 users. That feature filters out explicit results from a search, and it’s finally coming to the web browser on smart displays for the first time. Location History is already off by default on all accounts, but now under-18’s won’t be able to enable it. Previously this was gated at under-13’s only.

Autoplay is coming to YouTube Kids, but it will be off by default. It will also be off by default on YouTube, for anyone between 13 and 17 years of age. Google says they want to “empower parents” so the decision on whether autoplay is on is left in their hands. “Over-commercial” content is also going to be trimmed from YouTube Kids.

If you’re a teen and want to remove your images from Google Search results, the feature is rolling out in the coming weeks. So will the changes to YouTube. Ad targeting changes, and changes to SafeSearch and tools for content blocking on Google Assistant-enabled smart devices will be coming in the following months.

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