Fix Your Google Street View Security & Privacy Risks
Caught in your yard? Garage door open? Car license plates visible? Maybe your kids or grandkids were playing on the sidewalk?
Google is supposed to automatically blur these types of images but the sheer volume of video data they are dealing with means things slip through the cracks.
How to Blur Google Street View Images
Basically it’s super easy. You’re going to find your house on Google Maps, look around the street view image using your mouse, see if there is anything other than your house you’d like to blur, then fill out a form and verify your identity. But…proceed with caution. Once you blur your home or anything else from street view there is currently no way to reverse the process. It’s pretty simple to get something blurred as long as it’s your verifiable address, a person, or a car license plate. Feel free to pursue blurring of other things too; like a graduation sign in your yard, open storage areas, service vehicles, or anything else you feel is private. Google won’t blur everything but it doesn’t hurt to ask with one caveat. DO NOT request a blur of other people’s homes or other anything else not specific to your own privacy without their permission.
Go to Google Maps
- Open Google Maps and enter your street address in full.
- Click the Photos image in the lower left of the screen to bring up street view. (If there isn’t a street view, try dragging the little bright yellow man in the lower right of the screen to right in front of your house on the map and it will appear.
- Once street view is up on your screen use your mouse to drag the image back and forth. You should be able to look around as if you were standing there and see if anything other than your house shows up as a privacy concern like people, car tags, open garage, etc. (Our friend’s elementary school children were clearly visible in front of their house on their skateboard and scooter looking right at the camera!)
Fill Out the Report Inappropriate Street View Form
- Go to the lower right corner of the screen and click the tiny “Report a Problem” link.
- You will be brought to a form called “Report Inappropriate Street View”
- Fill out the form individually for each item you’d like blurred.
- Google makes no turnaround-time promises but community members have reported changes as soon as 3 days so keep checking your map.
Here’s What the Form Looks Like
Top image courtesy Google Maps streetview of Home Alone movie house.