Google doesn't delete any content from its search records archives completely. It simply breaks the links between searches on an individual's name and the offending results. That gives complainants the opportunity to use Google to shape their online identity while leaving the content behind those search results intact. According to the new data, Google has removed some 227,000 of those connections since it began, reluctantly, enforcing the ruling.
The citizens of some countries were more successful than others in their requests. About half of the requests for URL removes from France were honored, but only about a quarter of those coming from Italy were granted.
Google is offering a bit of insight into the kinds of deletion requests it's getting and how it's responding to them. In Italy, for example, a woman asked Google to delete search results that connected her name to the murder of her husband. Google complied. Google also agreed to scrub links to an article on a Belgian man's participation in a contest as a minor.
But when a media figure in the United Kingdom asked for the removal of his name from search results on "embarrassing content he posted to the Internet," Google said no.
The company also noted which of its products are the targets of the most content takedown requests across the board. The publishing platform Blogger, Google search tools and YouTube top the list.
But Google drily noted that in some cases Web users are overestimating just how much of the online space the company can control: "Sometimes we even receive requests to remove content 'from the Internet,'" the company reports. Google might have a great deal of power over what happens online. But not that much.