Google Street View cameras have now captured over 170 billion photos from 10 million miles around the globe. But if you’re not comfortable with the fact that anyone can “visit” your home digitally, did you know you can request to have it blurred from public view?
Certain things in Google Street View (e.g. faces and license plates) are already automatically blurred out by AI. In order to further protect people’s privacy, Google also allows anyone to submit requests for blurring things out.
The simple process can be used to blur out faces or plates that were missed by AI, homes, and other types of content as well (nudity, violence, and more).
To get started, use Google Maps and browse to the address or location that contains the photo(s) in question. Enter Street View by dragging the little yellow figure onto an included street (indicated by a blue glow).
In the bottom-right corner of the screen, click on the tiny “Report a problem” link.
In the “Report Inappropriate Street View” form that pops up, choose what you’d like to blur (i.e. a face, home, car, or other object).
A required text field pops up. You’ll need to provide an explanation for why Google should blur the thing in the photo(s). Finally, provide your email address and then hit “Submit.”
The request is then sent to be reviewed, and you may be contacted if the request needs to be more specific.
Google notes that all blurring done to photos is permanent, so make sure you’re okay with those objects being hidden from view for the long haul. It’s also unclear how Google handles blurred homes that are then sold to new owners.
In any case, it’s nice to know that Google provides recourse for people who wish to protect their privacy from prying eyes.