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How to Erase Your Home from Google Maps

·National Correspondent, Technology
Satellite over earth
Satellite over earth


It seems like Google Maps is getting more new features every day. And now, according to The Daily Dot, the companies that provide satellite images to Google just got approval to take higher-resolution photos. Meaning that your prize rose garden will be crisply broadcast to anyone who happens upon your neighborhood’s Street View.

But there are some things that most would prefer not to air to the entire Internet. Those being your car’s license plate, the facade of your house, your visitors, and — of course — your face. The good news: There are tools in place to allow you to blur these things out. The bad news: It seems that anyone can use them on anyone else.

Let’s review:

1. Go to Google Maps and enter your home address.

Google Maps screenshot
Google Maps screenshot

2. Your address will appear on the map. Underneath the search bar, click the Street View box. Or you can grab the little Pegman on the bottom-right corner of the screen and place him wherever you’d like.

Google Maps screenshot
Google Maps screenshot

3. Once you’ve adjusted your view so you can see the front of your home, click Report a problem at the very bottom right of the page.

Google Maps screenshot
Google Maps screenshot

4. You’ll be brought to a page that displays your address and the image of your home. Adjust the red box to make sure it’s focused on the thing you want blurred out. It can be your face, your license plate, your home, or anything else (you, naked, doing backflips in your front yard). Indicate what you’d like to eliminate by filling out the form under Request blurring.You can also report poor image quality.

Google Maps screenshot
Google Maps screenshot

Here’s the weird thing: There’s no process to verify whether you do indeed live at this address. There’s just a CAPTCHA test and a place where you can add your email address. Meaning, theoretically, you could blur out the home of anyone you’d like. It’d be sort of a lame practical joke, but you could do it!

Google Maps screenshot
Google Maps screenshot

If Google accepts your request, then the next time someone looks up your address on Maps, it’ll appear like this:

Image of house blurred out
Image of house blurred out

(Via The Daily Dot)

ImageA Google spokesperson wouldn’t reveal the number of blurring requests the company gets, nor how often it honors them. But if you’re really bugged by the fact that the Internet can see your untrimmed lawn, it wouldn’t hurt to try.

Follow Alyssa Bereznak on Twitter or email her.