What the Tech: Blur your home on Google Maps

How Google Maps puts some in danger, and how to keep everyone from seeing where you live.
How Google Maps puts some in danger, and how to keep everyone from seeing where you live.
Published: Jan. 29, 2023 at 8:48 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Google is already following your moves on the internet and in real life. It’s also showing the world what your house looks like.

If that feels like an invasion of privacy, you’re not alone.

You may have thought it was pretty cool at first. Seeing your house on Google Maps and Google Earth. Now, it’s kind of creepy. And putting pictures of private residences online for anyone in the world to see, has reportedly put some people in danger.

Singer Billie Eilish reportedly had a stalker go to her house seven times after finding it on Google Maps Street View. She got a restraining order and blurred images of her home.

How do you do that? Go to Google Maps on a computer or your phone, and you can virtually walk down almost any street, looking at houses, maybe seeing someone in front of their house.

If that’s too much for you, Google will blur your house, your face, and other objects.

Go to Google Maps and search for your address. Then, take the little yellow figure, drag and drop it onto the street to your house. Move up and down the street and you’ll probably see the side of the house, the driveway, and your car. You won’t be able to force Google to remove the images, but you can ask that your house be blurred out when it appears on Street View.

Select, “report a problem” and blur your house, face car or license plate, or another object, and line it up in the red box. You’ll need to provide Google with information to prove it is your house. Then choose a reason. Google doesn’t provide an answer that you just want it to be blurred, so choose “misplaced image.” Google will contact you by email for more information. Google does a pretty good job blurring license plates but it isn’t perfect.

There’s hardly any reason for your house to be pictured on Google. But before you decide, be aware once you do, it’s permanent.

Google Street View cars are equipped with cameras that can see over privacy fences. The company has been sued several times for publishing images of people on private property.

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