How to remove your house from Google Street View

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, septuagenarian former mop-top Sir Paul McCartney and disgraced former RBS banker Fred Goodwin are just some of the public figures who are said to have successfully convinced Google to change Street View pictures of their homes into a bunch of blurred pixels.

But what are you supposed to do if you’re not a political statesman, a crinkly crooner or an executive who oversaw the largest annual loss (£24.1 billion) in UK corporate history?

How are YOU supposed to remove your house from Google Street View if you don’t like the idea that Google drove one of its Street Cars up your road, took a photo of your front door without your permission, and then published it on the net?

Well, fortunately there is a way. And it should work not only if you are trying to remove your hose from Google Street View, but also if you want the search giant to blur out a face, a vehicle or another object.

1. Firstly, locate your address on maps.google.com. You do this simply by typing in the address into the search box, and pressing enter.

There should be a red pin-tack shown on the screen representing your home on the map.

You now need to make sure you are in Street View mode. You can do that by finding the Street View icon (represented by a stick man) in the lower right hand corner of the screen, and clicking on the map.

Google Street View icon

2. Use the left and right arrow controls with your mouse to adjust the Google Maps Street View, until you get a clear view of your house.

Once you’re happy the view represents your house, click on the “Report a Problem” link in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen.

Report a problem

You’re almost done. A new webpage is displayed, showing a street view of what Google believes you wish to raise a concern about. This is your final opportunity to adjust the view.

Report Google Street View

3. At this point you can tell Google what you wish to be blurred – a face, your home, a car or license plate, or a different object – and explain the area of concern.

Google will ask you for a contact email address and requests that you complete a CAPTCHA to verify that you are a human rather than a bot developed by privacy campaigners trying to sabotage Google Street View.

Click the Submit button.

Thanks Google, for considering blurring a picture of my house

4. You have done it. Now you just have to wait and see.

Tony Blair, or presumably one of his staff, went through the process and has successfully excised the image of his Georgian home in London.

Tony Blair's house in London

Will you be as successful as Tony Blair at getting a photo of the front of your house obscured from Google Street View? You can only hope that Google will honour your right to privacy.

At the time of writing my own front door is still visible on Street View, a week after I first requested its pixellation.

Of course, there are other solutions if you don’t like Google Street View showing the world a picture of your house.

For instance, Google CEO Eric Schmidt glibly told those who were concerned to “just move” if they didn’t like Google having a street view picture of their home.

Hardly a practical solution, I’m sure you would agree. Schmidt later claimed that he “misspoke” by making that remark – but I wondered if he had taken the advice himself.

After all, according to Forbes, Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently purchased a $22 million mansion in the Holmby Hills neighbourhood of Los Angeles, within spitting distance of Hugh Hefner’s Playboy mansion.

Eric Schmidt's home

As you can see – he doesn’t appear to have blurred out Google Street view images of his home. Mind you, it’s not as if you can actually see his home from the road.

Schmidt, you will remember, was the guy who back in October 2010 made the hairs stand up on the back of privacy-conscious internet users’ necks when he declared:

“Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it”

Oh well, that’s reassuring…

Author Graham Cluley, We Live Security

  • Daz71

    Interesting, there are actually a couple of buildings in that area of London that are blurred. Wouldn’t have known nor cared who lived there had they not been blurred out.

  • Neil

    Well, I can see blurring out a face or license plate since those are things that might get seen elsewhere, but if you’ve already got Tony Blair’s address it’s not exactly a challenge to find his front door. Seems kinda silly to me. The front of your house is already “public”. Now, if the googlers were coming up my driveway (since I don’t have street frontage) I’d be a little ticked off, but otherwise . . .

  • Sandra

    If you move into a house that is blurred in StreetView, and you want to un-blur it, is this possible? Or is blurring a one-way operation?

  • Bana Na

    Google should never allow public figures to obscure Google’s street view, the street is a public place and they do not take pictures of a crooked banker counting money inside his living room. Maybe it is a great opportunity for others to provide us with even more detailed pictures of people who have convinced Google that they have something to hide.

    • John

      I disagree. If someone wants to view my house, they should be forced to come to my street and look at my house that way, not sat at their computer on the other side of the planet.
      And if they want to waste their time and money to do so, then they’re free to look at it as long as they don’t step foot on my property.

    • SteveDitkosQuestion

      Is that so? Post your address here so the entire internet can see where you live.

  • SteveDitkosQuestion

    This is absolutely an invasion of privacy by Google. Unless I give my permission FIRST for them to take a picture of where I live or work, who I am, my family member’s identities etc they are putting my life out there for all to see or abuse by criminals or sexual preditors. This should be against the law.

    Lawyers, can we sue them over this in class action?

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