Google Street offers up a window to the world in all its bizarre, intimate, and often raw glory. That window just so happens to peek into your home, as well. What that peek reveals may be more than you’ve bargained for — think views into bedroom windows, potential field-day for stalkers, and more.
However, there is something you can do about it. For the sake of privacy and security, you can ask Google to permanently blur out your house from Street View. What remains after the blurring out is a “smeared suggestion of a building” in its place, says Mashable.
This process is very easy to request.
Here’s what you need to do:
– Go to Google Maps and enter your home address.
– Go into Street View mode by dragging the small yellow human icon from the bottom right corner of the screen onto the map in front of your house.
– With your house in view, click on “Report a problem” on the bottom right corner of the screen.
– Position the red box on your home and click on “My home” in the “Request blurring” field.
– Write in the provided area why you want to blur this image – like security/safety issues.
– Enter your email ID and hit submit.
Just ensure that you want to do this because once Google has blurred your house on Street View, it is permanent.
Once you submit your request, you are going to receive an email from Google that says that they are “reviewing” the image that you have reported and that you will be notified via email once the request is resolved.
There is a chance that Google might follow up and ask you to be a little more specific about the area you want to be blurred so you might have to do the entire thing all over again just to be sure.
We don’t know how long Google takes to process these requests so if you are keen on getting your house off the map you can start early. You can also do the same thing on Bing Maps and the process to do it there is also similar.
Launched in 2007, Street View provides a street-level view of many cities and towns around the world. The footage has been captured by roving vehicles and individual photographers with camera-laden backpacks. Street View has been a quite controversial right from the start.
For example, in the Minnesota suburb of North Oaks decided in 2008 that it didn’t want pictures of it up on Street View and threatened to sue Google for trespassing. Google pulled the images down, reports Mashable.
Then in 2009, the lobbying organisation Privacy International filed a formal complaint to the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) alleging that Google had failed to properly de-identify the people is captured. A BBC report from that time had noted, “that type of failure could have serious repercussions”.
“Among them was a woman who had moved house to escape a violent partner but who was recognisable outside her new home on Street View,” the article said. Two colleagues complained about getting pictured in a “compromising position” and had to deal with the image being circulated in their workplace.
Google has never exactly been a steward of anyone’s’ privacy. In 2010, the company admitted that its Street View vehicles — the ones endlessly circling neighbourhoods around the world — had secretly been collecting information from unencrypted WiFi networks they drove past for years.