Popular Science recently published an article explaining how people can hide their home addresses and other personally-identifiable information on the world’s most popular map apps.
Google Maps offers Streetview, a street-level application that lets users view images of numerous addresses across the globe.
The company captures these images using a 360-degree camera that is carried on foot or fitted to cars, bicycles, and boats.
While very useful when it comes to navigating to areas you have never been before, some people might feel it encroaches on their privacy.
For these users, Google offers a “Report Inappropriate Street View” feature, which can blur parts of the images on the platform to hide hit from prying eyes.
The feature is particularly useful for well-known individuals who might face a greater risk of being doxxed.
To blur your house or other personally identifiable information you’ve spotted on Google Maps, follow the steps below:
- Open the Google Maps apps on your phone or the web.
- Type in your address and search for it.
- Click the image of your house or other building.
- Switch to Street View mode.
- Select the three-dot menu on the top right (mobile app) or top right (web).
- Choose “Report a problem”.
From here, Google will provide you with a form to fill out and submit to confirm what area of the image you would like to be blurred, as well as what content will be blurred.
A screenshot of the form is shown below.
Google might follow up with an email asking for further information for processing the request.
Importantly, Google says the blur action cannot be reversed.
As explained in the form, the feature can also be used for blurring a car’s licence plate number or people’s faces.
One celebrity who made use of the feature is stand-up comedian Jack Whitehall, who was captured in an awkward moment smoking marijuana in a street in Amsterdam at the exact moment a Google Streetview car happened to pass by.
Other map apps
Two other popular map apps that include similar street-level information are Apple Maps and Bing Maps.
Apple’s version is called Look Around and can be accessed by dropping a pin on a map in Apple Maps or by searching for an address.
Popular Science explained there is currently no way to request your address or information be hidden on Look Around within the app itself.
Instead, you have to send an email with your request to [email protected]
To request your home be hidden on Bing Maps’ StreetSide, do the following:
- Open Bing Maps on the web or the desktop app for Windows.
- Select the map view button in the top right corner (If not available, your area is not covered and you don’t have to worry).
- Select StreetSide.
- Click on a blue line on the map near your address.
- Select “Report a privacy concern with this image” on the bottom left on the web or “Report a problem” on the bottom right on the app.
- Fill out the form as instructed.