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How to blur your house on Google Street View

by George Mensah

The continuous series Privacy Please examines how privacy is compromised in the modern day and offers solutions.

Google Street View provides a glimpse into the strange, personal, and frequently unpolished beauty of the globe. It just so happens that your house can be seen through that window. That sneak peak may reveal more than you anticipated, including views through bedroom windows, possible stalker material, and more.

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Fortunately, you can take action to change it. You can specifically instruct Google to permanently blur out your home, replacing it with simply a smudged impression of a structure. Surprisingly, the entire procedure is simple.

As its name suggests, Street View, which was introduced in 2007, offers a street-level perspective of numerous cities and towns throughout the world. The service was documented by roving vehicles and lone photographers carrying camera backpacks, and it has generated controversy ever since – in both ways you might expect and other you may not.

The Minnesota community of North Oaks tried to cite Google for trespassing in 2008 after deciding it didn’t want images of it on the search engine. Google removed the pictures.

The lobbying group Privacy International complained in writing to the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in 2009, claiming that Google had not adequately de-identified the individuals it had photographed. That kind of failure might have severe consequences, as a BBC story from the time indicated.

According to the article summarizing concerns made to Privacy International, “Among them were a woman who had moved homes to escape an abusive boyfriend but who was recognized outside her new home on Street View.” Two other coworkers who were pictured in an ostensibly intimate setting and suffered embarrassment when the photo was shared at their place of employment also complained.

And that’s just stating the obvious.

The privacy of users has never exactly been upheld by Google. The business acknowledged that its Street View trucks, which perpetually circle areas all over the world, have been secretly gathering data from open WiFi networks for years in 2010.

You might value privacy for its own sake and feel that Google shouldn’t have indexed and made public photographs of your home because you’re concerned about an online stalker, you don’t want strangers looking in your windows, or you simply don’t want that information available to everyone. Whatever the cause, blurring off the image of your house or apartment on Google Street View is a rather simple process.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Go to Google Maps and enter your home address
  2. Enter into Street View mode by dragging the small yellow human-shaped icon, found in the
  3. bottom-right corner of the screen, onto the map in front of your house
  4. With your house in view, click “Report a problem” in the bottom-right corner of the screen
  5. Center the red box on your home, and select “My home” in the “Request blurring” field
  6. Write in the provided field why you want the image blurred (for example, you may be concerned about safety issues)
  7. Enter in your email address, and click “Submit”

Make sure it’s what you desire, which is crucial. When Google blurs your home on Street View, it says that “it is permanent.”

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But keep in mind that you reside there. You can probably go outdoors and take a look for yourself if you ever need to be reminded of how it appears.


When you click “submit,” Google should send you an email stating that it will email you once your request has been fulfilled after reviewing the image you submitted. In a follow-up email, the business can urge you to be more specific about the region you wish to be obscured. If so, you must repeat the entire procedure, this time specifying exactly the part of the image you want blurred.

You might as well start now as it’s unclear how long Google will take to process the requests. Do the same thing on Bing Maps after you’re done with that (the process is surprisingly identical; after all, Microsoft shouldn’t get any special treatment).

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