Over the last decade or so Google has expanded beyond being just a simple search engine. The first sign of this expansion was the release of Google Maps in 2005, which offered a great way to plan a journey to almost anywhere that you could imagine. Over the years the Google Maps project has grown to feature satellite imagery which documents millions of points of interest across the globe, in addition to providing services such as satellite navigation and information on traffic conditions, public transport and lots more. More than a billion people use Google Maps today, and one of the most popular features is Street View.
Google Street View allows you to view and navigate through panoramic street images of various towns and cities throughout the world. Introduced as a work in progress in 2007, for over 10 years Google have been driving around in cars fitted with cameras to provide up-to-date images of millions of cities across most of the UK, Europe, USA, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. As these cars continue to drive around, Street View is constantly being updated with new or improved images of our streets. While it’s great to be able to have a nose at a different street with just a few clicks of the mouse, many people believe that services such as Street View are invading our privacy.
A number of celebrities have made it known that they have asked Google to remove their home from Google Street View for reasons concerning their privacy. Such celebrities include Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page and Martine McCutcheon. The good news is that you don’t have to be a celebrity or VIP to remove the image of your home from Google Streetview – anyone can do it. All you have to do is send a request to Google to blur out your house. Here’s how to do just that.
The first thing to do is find your own home on Google Streetview, by searching for your address on Google Maps. Once your street has been located on Google Maps, you need to active Google Street View, by dragging the yellow figure at the bottom of the screen to the blue line that overlays your street on the map. Doing that will bring you down to street level where you will be able to see your house.
Navigate by clicking and dragging your mouse up and down the street until you have a clear view of your house. Then, click on the ‘Report a problem’ link on the bottom right of your screen. Doing so will open a new page which will have an image preview of your house. Underneath the ‘Why are you reporting this image?’ heading you can choose to request blurring or report the image quality. In this case we want to request blurring, so we simply click the ‘My home’ button next to this option.
After you’ve done that, simply fill in your email address and complete the reCAPTCHA, and then press the blue Submit button. Hopefully within a few days Google will comply with your request for privacy, and you’ll be one step closer to anonymity. It’s worth noting though however, that people will still be able to see your house when passing it in real life.