Should You Blur Images of Your House on Google Maps?

Should You Blur Images of Your House on Google Maps

In recent months, there has been a lot of internet chatter over privacy concerns related to Google Maps’ street view. Those concerned about the feature recommend homeowners exercise the option to have images of their homes blurred on Google Maps. Is this something you should do?

That is a question you need to answer for yourself. Should you decide to do it, there are plenty of people out there who would not think ill of you for doing so. After all, Google Maps is a publicly available tool accessible by anyone with a web browser and a connected device.

Why It Matters

Google Maps’ street view was first launched more than 15 years ago. Back then, it was seen as a novel tool to help people get a better understanding of what they might see when driving down an unfamiliar street. It was thought to be a great option for helping people navigate places they had never been to before. Times have changed.

It is no secret that criminals often spend time scoping out their victims. Burglars have been known to walk through neighborhoods checking door handles (to see if they are locked) and peeking into open garages. What are they looking for? Two things: easy victims and items worth stealing.

A burglar can tell a lot about you and the contents of your home just by looking at your house from the street. Guess what? Google Maps now makes it possible to do the same thing from the privacy of the burglar’s own home. He no longer needs to stand on the street in front of your house. Google has done it for him.

Requesting to Blur Your House

Fortunately, Google now offers the option to have your house blurred on its images. The process for filing a request is not hard. You can find complete instructions from CNET here. You basically bring up your own house on Google Maps Street View, select it with your mouse, click ‘Report a problem’, and then request then your house people learn.

Interestingly, you can choose how much of your property you want blurred. That also means no you can request that certain objects be blurred. For instance, if something else in the view would give away the location of your home, you can also request that it be blurred.

Just One Step

Of course, having your house blurred on Google Maps is just one step toward creating a safer property. There are plenty of others. I personally recommend monitored home security from a provider like Vivint Smart Home. A system with window and door sensors, video cameras, and detectors for smoke and carbon monoxide is a good starting point.

I also strongly urge professional monitoring. DIY monitoring is better than no monitoring at all, but professional monitoring guarantees that someone is paying attention to your system 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

The Reality of Technology and Crime

Just like you and I can utilize technology to prevent crime, criminals can use it to perpetrate crime. They can use Google Maps to scope out an entire neighborhood without ever leaving home. Granted, some pictures have not been updated in a while, but there’s enough information in most street view images to give criminals a good idea of what they’re looking at. Criminals can also use social media, and they do.

If you hope to prevent becoming the next victim, you need to be diligent about protecting yourself. That might mean going on Google Maps and requesting that your house be blurred. It is something to think about.

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